How to improve the Affordable Care Act

The 2010 Affordable Care Act broadly improved Americans’ health security — by making it possible to buy good-quality, often subsidized insurance, and by expanding eligibility for Medicaid. Even so, the uninsured population in the U.S. remains unacceptably large.

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Opinion

February 25, 2021 - 9:41 AM

Demonstrators rally outside U.S. Supreme Court in Washington before in an argument on the Affordable Care Act on November 10, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

Here’s some news from 2020 that seems almost good: Despite heavy job losses during the pandemic, the proportion of Americans without health insurance didn’t spike, as you might have expected. Some employers maintained their coverage. Many of those who lost their employer-provided policies picked up Medicaid coverage instead. And others bought individual policies on the state and federal Obamacare marketplaces.

This illustrates how the 2010 Affordable Care Act broadly improved Americans’ health security — by making it possible to buy good-quality, often subsidized insurance, and by expanding eligibility for Medicaid.

Even so, the uninsured population in the U.S. remains unacceptably large — nearly 30 million people, according to the Census Bureau’s 2019 count, and probably more now, as the number rose steadily while Donald Trump was in the White House. His team worked what mischief it could — shortening to six weeks the fall window for buying insurance on the federal marketplace, for example, and taking various steps to squeeze Medicaid enrollment. President Joe Biden is right to move quickly to reverse the damage.

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