The Affordable Care Act Is Turning Five Years Old!
OPINION -- Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law five years ago, Oregonians have sent a powerful message: The Affordable Care Act is working, and the quality health coverage offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace is a product that consumers need, want and like. They also made it clear that they don’t want this coverage taken away.
Over 112,000 Oregonians selected plans thorough the health insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, as of December 2014, almost 1,031,000 Oregonians are enrolled in Medicaid, a 64 percent increase over enrollment in 2013!
That means over 1.1 million Oregonians will no longer need to choose between a checkup and paying a bill, or worry that an accident could plunge them into debt, or worse, bankruptcy. These numbers represent real people whose lives have changed for the better: a mom whose cancerous lump is found with enough time to intervene; a dad who can afford the prescription to keep his blood pressure in check; a son or daughter who can stay on a parent’s plan while finishing school or starting a career.
It’s not hard to figure out why Oregon consumers are enthusiastic. This year’s Marketplace offered quality insurance plans—and the financial and health security that comes with coverage—at a price they could afford. Seventy-seven percent of those who signed up on the Marketplace as of February 22 qualified for an average tax credit of $198 per month--44 percent paid $100 or less per month after tax credits.
Thousands of Oregonians who already had insurance have seen their coverage improve because they now have access to preventive services like
vaccines, cancer screenings, and yearly wellness visits. In addition, Oregonians cannot be denied or dropped from coverage because of a pre-existing condition or because they hit an annual or lifetime cap in benefits.
It’s worth putting this all in perspective. Nationwide, since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion began, about over 16 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage. This led to largest reduction in the nation’s uninsured in nearly five decades.
The uninsured rate in Oregon is now only five percent according to a recent study. This reflects a 63% drop since the Affordable Care Act took effect.
Altogether, the Affordable Care Act is not just about a new way to buy insurance; it’s about a health system that prioritizes access, affordability and quality for everyone--the evidence shows that the Affordable Care Act is working, and families, businesses and taxpayers are better off as a result.
Happy Birthday ACA!
Susan Johnson was appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama as Regional Director of Region 10 serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. As HHS Regional Director, she serves as Secretary Burwell’s primary representative and liaison to key constituencies in the Region. In this role, Susan works with federal, state, local and tribal officials on a wide range of health and social service issues.