CEO Blog – April 2017
Let’s Get the Facts about the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare
We took some time to review articles about the most common misconceptions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and thought that with the seventh anniversary of the passing of the Affordable Care Act, it might be a good time to clear up some of those myths. We found ten items that were worth mentioning.
Myth #1. The Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are not the same thing.
Even though comedians have made fun of people who think that the ACA and Obamacare are two different things, 17% of the people surveyed in a Morning Consult poll said they believed the ACA and Obamacare were different laws, and another 18 percent said they were unsure. Let’s be clear, Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing.
Myth #2. The majority of Americans want to repeal ACA
Polls conducted by various organizations since the election have consistently shown that a majority of U.S. residents do not want repeal—instead, they want lawmakers to work to improve the ACA. A poll conducted by the GS Strategy Group found that 21.2 percent of respondents wanted a full repeal, while a majority, 68.2 percent, would rather see major and minor changes to the law.
Myth #3. The quality of health care in the United States has declined under the ACA
A ProPublica analysis points out that “some data shows that health care has improved after the passage of the ACA.” For example, one study shows hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge have declined since the ACA was enacted. The Commonwealth Fund’s 2016 Scorecard on State Health System Performance also found that “nearly all state health systems” saw performance gains across a wide number of indicators between 2013 and 2015, which was directly linked to the Affordable Care Act, according to Commonwealth Fund CEO David Blumenthal.
Myth #4: Obamacare hasn’t changed things that much
The U.S. is currently experiencing its highest rate of insured people ever in history, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September 2016. As of February 2016, 12.7 million Americans received health coverage through the marketplace. There are five other big advantages of Obamacare:
- Obamacare required insurers to cover certain preventive services such as cancer screenings and immunizations.
- The law lets young adults stay on a parent’s health insurance plan until they turn 26 years old.
- There is no lifetime limit on how much the insurance company will pay if you get sick.
- Insurers can’t cancel your coverage if you made a mistake on the paperwork.
- The insurance company can’t deny anyone because of pre-existing conditions.
Myth #5: Only very poor people qualify for tax credits
Of the people who get health care through state marketplace plans (Covered California), about 8 in 10 people are eligible for monthly subsidies that can bring monthly payments down to less than $100. Eligibility for the tax credit is determined by several factors, including household size and income. The IRS has a flowchart you can use to quickly see if you’d be eligible for the tax credit.
Myth #6: The ACA Provides Health Insurance to Undocumented Immigrants
Simply stated, undocumented immigrants do not receive benefits under the ACA. And they do not receive payment assistance for insurance plans.
Myth #7: The ACA Cut Medicare Benefits
While the ACA has slowed payment to providers and to private health plans in the Medicare Advantage program, it did not cut benefits for seniors enrolled in the traditional Medicare program. Forty percent of Americans think the ACA cut benefits for people who are covered by traditional Medicare but that is not true.
Myth #8: Most Americans Get Health Coverage Through the ACA
Most Americans are insured through an employer or through a government program, such as Medicare or Medicaid. Less than 10 percent of Americans are covered by ACA marketplace plans.
Myth #9: ACA Makes You Pay for Preventive Care
The ACA put an emphasis on preventive services by eliminating out-of-pocket costs for a variety of preventive care services including birth control. Many Americans are unaware that the ACA eliminated cost-sharing for birth control and other preventive services for adults and children.
Myth #10: Uninsured Rates Increased after the ACA
According to the federal government’s National Health Interview Survey, the rates have gone down. In 2010, the year the law was enacted, the uninsured rate was 18.2%. In 2016, the U.S. uninsured rate among was 10.4% in the second quarter of 2016.
We hope this information is helpful when you talk to friends and family about the Affordable Care Act and its importance in keeping people in medical care. There are improvements that can be made and we hope that Congress is able to make those changes in a bipartisan way that benefits all Americans.
Christy Ward, CEO
Cares Community Health