FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Doctors for America
PO Box 53313
1921 Florida Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009-9997
March 23, 2023
Statement from AAC on the Anniversary of the Enactment of the Affordable Care Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Doctors For America joins together with millions of patients around the country to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Since being enacted, 16 million Americans have obtained coverage through the Marketplace and 22 million have joined Medicaid as of September 2021. This dramatic expansion in access to health care contributed to an unprecedented drop in the uninsured rate that has persisted ever since. While cutting the uninsured rate nearly in half, the ACA also significantly reduced racial and ethnic disparities in insurance coverage. Expanded insurance coverage has meant more patients being able to see their doctors for everything from routine check ups to life threatening emergencies and the countless medical uncertainties in between.
The reforms included in the ACA proved even more essential when the country found itself facing the coronavirus-19 pandemic. Without the protections enshrined into the law, untold millions of Americans would have faced higher barriers to care at a time when access to care could not have been more critical.
Despite the many improvements already achieved through the ACA, still more challenges persist. Nearly 30 million Americans remain without health insurance coverage, leaving them at the mercy of an increasingly profit-driven health care system that often saddles these patients with mountains of medical debt – if they are able to access care at all. Eleven states have actively chosen to contribute to this crisis by refusing to expand Medicaid eligibility. We urge the legislators in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming to immediately correct this unconscionable act of callousness towards their own citizens.
Other reforms could further reduce the burden of inaccessible care on the most historically marginalized populations. We applaud the efforts by the Biden administration to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage to a full 12 months and call on state leaders to implement these changes as soon as possible. This is one tool that could address how Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. The expansion of premium tax credits for Marketplace policies has made coverage more affordable for millions of Americans – we call on Congress to make these changes permanent so that families no longer have to live with the uncertainty of premium spikes in the future.
The passage and implementation of the ACA was a watershed moment in the history of healthcare in America. Overnight, the prayers of millions of Americans who had been left behind by our patchwork healthcare system were answered. The prayers came from those who were repeatedly turned away by insurance companies because they had an early cancer diagnosis. They came from college graduates who hadn’t yet got their footing and couldn’t afford coming off their parents’ plans. They came from working class families who made too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to reliably put food on the table. For these Americans, the Affordable Care Act was nothing short of transformative. Yet until every person in this country has access to equitable, high quality and affordable health care, the highest aims of the ACA will remain unfulfilled, and Doctors for America will continue to fight for that promised future.
About Doctors for America:
Doctors for America (DFA) mobilizes doctors and medical students to be leaders in putting patients over politics to improve the health of our patients, communities, and nation. DFA is an organization of over 27,000 physician and medical student advocates in all 50 states, representing all areas of specialization. DFA teaches physicians and medical students advocacy skills and does advocacy at a state and federal level. Our impact areas focus on access to affordable care, community health and prevention, and health justice and equity. DFA focuses solely on what is best for our patients, not on the business side of medicine, and does not accept any funding from pharmaceutical or medical device companies, which uniquely positions DFA as the organization that puts patients over politics and patients over profits.