In March of 2010, nearly ten years ago, Democrats signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Now considered one of the biggest pieces of health care legislation put together by U.S. legislators.
In retrospect, professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University and health policy expert, Timothy Stoltzfus Jost has stated the ACA has accomplished a lot, but has also left a fragmented health system divided by private and public sectors.
“The ACA made major reforms in health care delivery, finance, addressing access, cost and quality,” Jost said. “Its reach is far greater than is commonly understood, yet while it revolutionized many parts of the U.S. health care system, it did not revolutionize the system itself. Much remains to be done.”
Jost, and as members of the Obama administration recently attended a joint conference at the Yale University, as well as University of Pennsylvania to focus on the formation, implementation and impact of the ACA.
“We barely got the Affordable Care Act through with support of the hospitals, the physicians, the pharmaceutical lobby and 60 votes in the Senate,” he said, “and right now, we’re not anywhere close to that.”
According to Nancy-Ann De Parle, president Obama’s former deputy chief of staff for policy, candidates and experts should instead be looking at ways to build upon the existing system.
During the conference at Yale, DeParle states “I would not waste time trying to invent the wheel, I would try to improve the structure that’s already there.”
Once it was signed into law, the ACA began the expansion of coverage to millions of people in the United States, across different socio economic classes. The largest changes shown to affect low and middle-income citizens. It also expanded coverage for young adults by allowing them to remain under their parents insurance until the age of 26, and required the coverage of pre-existing conditions. Further advantages eliminated lifetime limits and expanded coverage for preventative services.
A handful of states, including Connecticut, also established their own state exchange systems, called Access health CT. This led now patient advocate Gaye Hyre, of West Haven, to acquire an ACA plan to cover her cancer treatments and other basic health care needs.
However she states the coverage is not without its flaws.
“The fact is, on the ground, you can have your insurance, but the equitable access to the actual care is compromised because people will not take that insurance, therefore it is stigmatized,” Hyre said. “How is the patient, the person at the end of the policy, supposed to cope with all of this?”
Rising premiums and deductibles, and few carriers in rural areas are just some of the issues making it difficult for patients to afford their health insurance are some of the issues the panel of experts has acknowledged.
They also stated the Trump administration and GOP legislators continue to dismantle and roll back aspects of the health law with the long term goal to repeal the ACA. Health policy economics specialist Joseph Antos stated “What would Republicans have supported in place of the ACA? That wasn’t clear 10 years ago, and it is even less today.”
Currently the ACA is being challenged in a lawsuit as to whether or not it is constitutional, brought forth by 18 GOP state attorneys general. Despite additional problems including funding costs, the ACA is not considered a loss. Attorney and professor at Boston University School of Law, said policy makers can learn from the past in order to move forward.
“There are lessons to be learned from the difficulty from its rollout and I think also lessons to be learned whether or not we can have this patchwork public or private non-system and continue to roll along with it,” she said. “My sense … is that people are still not getting what they need for all the money that we spend.”
Leonard N. (2019, Oct. 7.) 10 Years Of The Affordable Care Act: What Now? Retrieved from /www.wnpr.org