By Jill Zorn
Amidst all of the political wrangling surrounding the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we sometimes forget what access to coverage truly means for the millions of people who have now gained it.
Since the ACA was passed five years ago, over 16 million people have gained health care coverage. Despite this and the many other accomplishments of the law, there has been a steady drumbeat of negative messages about the ACA throughout those five years.
Myths abounded, including that the law would cost tax payers more than projected, would be a “job killer,” would cause “rate shock,” and would actually increase the number of uninsured.
In reality, the act has produced a dramatic drop in the number of uninsured adults; premiums have grown much more slowly than in the years before reform; the law’s cost is coming in well below projections; and 2014, the first year of full implementation, also had the best job growth since 1999.
Unfortunately, as Ezra Klein of VOX points out in this analysis, people’s opinions are rooted in their beliefs and ideology and they rarely change their minds based on facts. This may explain why the public remains divided about the law, although at least the gap between those who support the law and those who oppose it is narrowing.
Sure, the ACA isn’t perfect. And while coverage has certainly been gained for millions of people, we still have much work to do to achieve the Triple Aim of improved quality, lower costs and improved health.
Still, it’s nice to put the partisan arguments aside and be reminded that the ACA is giving individuals, like the woman featured in this ad, the peace of mind and care that they deserve. As President Obama said in March, on the fifth anniversary of the ACA, “Quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, it is a right.”
Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut serves as a catalyst that engages residents and communities in shaping a health system that provides universal access to quality, affordable health care and promotes health in Connecticut. We believe that health care is a fundamental right and that our work is part of a broader movement for social and economic justice.