Washington, D.C. — Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed by President Barack Obama 12 years ago today, the groundbreaking law has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by 20 million and has helped millions more stay covered during the pandemic. Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
Twelve years after its passage, the Affordable Care Act is stronger than ever. It provides millions of Americans with affordable, comprehensive health coverage and ensures that nobody can be charged more, or be denied coverage, due to preexisting conditions. Moreover, it has survived more than 70 attempts by conservative lawmakers to repeal or undermine the law in Congress and through the courts—a move that would have robbed more than 20 million Americans of insurance coverage and had devastating consequences on access to care.
Thanks to the ACA, the uninsured rate in the United States held steady even as Americans lost their jobs or were laid off amid the economic turmoil when the pandemic hit. The ACA marketplaces and Medicaid helped keep people covered and allowed them to get the health care they needed for themselves and their loved ones during the pandemic. A record 14.5 million people signed up for marketplace coverage for this year, proof that the law is working as intended. Thanks to President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, coverage is more affordable and accessible.
The law also played a key role in getting Americans vaccinated and making at-home rapid tests widely available. It is essential to protecting people who have had COVID-19, including the 1.2 million newly identified as disabled since the start of the pandemic.
Now, Congress has an opportunity to preserve the ACA’s gains and expand affordable coverage to more people. Lawmakers must pass President Biden’s plan to lower health care costs by extending financial assistance for those who buy coverage on their own and make affordable coverage available to the more than 2.2 million uninsured, low-income Americans in the Medicaid coverage gap.
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