The Affordable Care Act lowered the number of people in the United States without health insurance from a high of 44 million before the law to a low in 2016 of 27.4 million, but ever since then the number has been rising. See Gallup.
Since 2016, the number of people without health insurance rose by 2.8%, which represents seven million people. Almost half of them, 45%, cannot access health insurance either because they live in a state that did not expand Medicaid, they are excluded because they are immigrants or they earn too much to receive a subsidy but too little to afford the premiums. In fact, the cost of health insurance is the biggest reason why people do not purchase it.
The only ways to cover more people under the Affordable Care Act would be to expand Medicaid in states that haven’t done that, which the federal government cannot do, or to give more money to private insurers through various mechanisms so people can afford their products.
But further subsidies will not result in a universal system or end our complicated and expensive healthcare system, while National Improved Medicare for All will. Maintaining the current system doesn’t solve the problems people continue to have getting care.
Every week, we hear new stories. Here is one that came in this morning:
“The hormone suppressant drug that I needed to control my cancer was not covered under my SILVER ACA plan, which I got as soon as it was available in 2014. That medication cost $3,000/dose, administered quarterly. I was responsible for all of it, and some doses were by economic necessity skipped. As a consequence, my disease was not treated as aggressively as it should have been. I was unable to treat it as it should have been treated for three years, until I could get onto Medicare. The result is that I have incurable cancer, the equivalent of Stage IV, and I’m enduring chemotherapy just to buy a few more years. The misery I have endured since my last chemo treatment about 10 days ago reminds me each day of what a heartless deception the ACA has been.”
Every state that attempted universal coverage under the present system had similar experiences: they failed to achieve universal coverage and over time the number of uninsured grew due to cost. Learn more about that in this article “State Health Reform Flatlines.”