Medical care, health have improved for low-income adults under ACA

Eighteen percent of the electorate supports rolling back the expansion altogether, while 14 percent of voters back the plan passed by House Republicans to gradually phase out the expansion by forcing states to stop enrolling new people by 2020. There was very little time for discussion and no time for the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to score the bill and offer its independent analysis of the bill's likely economic impact.

Nevertheless, we know the bill's key provisions. A large number of those with pre-existing conditions now get their insurance through the ACA.

According to the study, by the end of 2016, the uninsurance rate in the two expansion states (Kentucky and Arkansas) had dropped by more than 20 percentage points relative to Texas.

Carriers also have noted that the ACA's health insurer tax, which was suspended by Congress for 2017, will return in 2018, accounting for 1 percent to 2.5 percent of the 2018 rate-increase requests, Corlette said.

A new study published today in Health Affairs shows that the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion not only increased insurance coverage rates but also improved access and affordability among low-income patients over the last three years. Twenty-three percent of respondents said health care is their top priority, the highest level since Morning Consult started polling on the issue.

The ACA is by no means flawless, but it already provides affordable health care to millions of Americans. A 60-year-old with the same income would pay $8,040, or more than 40% of his or her annual income.

Despite a last ditch provision in the bill ostensibly meant to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions, there is no other way to put it, confidence that there will be basic protections for individuals will pre-existing conditions is gone.

The Republican-led plan to replace the federal health care law would scrap government-backed tax credits that help make health insurance more affordable for low- and moderate-income workers, advocates say, and will drive up premium costs. "Other insurance companies are pulling out", he said.

The bill does require states to provide a way for people with pre-existing conditions to obtain coverage, and it allocates up to $138 billion over 10 years to fund such programs.

Additionally, KFF estimates 3.8 million adults with individual market insurance in 2015, or 25 percent of all adult enrollees, had a declinable pre-existing condition and would not face premium surcharges under the AHCA community rating waivers if they maintain continuous coverage. "But on the other hand, they may be perceived as low need and a place where states think they can save a lot of money without sacrificing a lot in health".

Does that remain the goal of the law's replacement?

Kelly Hawes, of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star contributed to the research for this column.

  • Jon Douglas