There are many metrics out there with which to measure the success or failure of a healthcare plan. In researching this article, I found that on nearly every important benchmark, the ACA excels. The uninsured rate in 2013 was 13.3 percent, in 2016 it was at 8.9 percent, and still falling. This is because 20 million people gained insurance through their employers, Medicaid, Medicare and the marketplace. Premiums rose 99 percent over the eight years that George W. Bush was in office, but under President Obama, they only rose 59 percent. In fact, from 2015 to 2016, they rose only 3 percent.
However, there is one statistic that blows everything out of the water:
“For every 455 people who gained coverage across several states, one life was saved per year. Applying that figure to even a conservative estimate of 20 million losing coverage in the event of an ACA repeal yields an estimate of 43,956 deaths annually.”
Yup, you read that right. Almost 44,000 more deaths per year will occur because the ACA is repealed. But what, you ask, of the Trump/Ryan replacement plan? Won’t that save lives? Not many. Under that plan, by the year 2026, the number of people annually killed by Trumpcare could grow to nearly 29,000, when 26 million people become uninsured (the equivalent of taking healthcare away from every person in Australia.)
Yes, there are many numbers with which to measure the success or failure of a healthcare plan, but shouldn’t we start with how many people will die if we do or don’t use the plan? Under the ACA, nobody dies, without the ACA 44,000 people die per year, under Trumpcare 29,000 people die annually. Think about it, what plan do YOU think is a failure?
Besides that, overall healthcare costs have fallen because preventative care is free under the ACA. All ACA plans cover mental health, addiction, maternity, chronic disease and family planning. They no longer deny pre-existing conditions. Children are covered until they are 26 (including those who have aged out of the foster care system). Medicaid has been extended to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, and the middle class (400 percent of poverty level) gets tax subsidies. The doughnut hole gap in Medicare will be closed by 2020. Even though businesses with more than 50 employees have to offer an insurance program, there are tax credits to help.
The ACA will lower the deficit by $143 billion by 2022 by reducing healthcare costs, raising taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 per year, and shifting cost burdens onto providers and pharmacy companies. A plurality of Americans (49 percent vs 47 percent) say that they favor the ACA, and of those who believe that it should be repealed, 55 percent say that repeal should be accompanied by a replacement that is better than the ACA.
With all of this data, it seems like a person could make up their mind about whether the ACA is better than the Trump/Ryan alternative.
Featured image by Lisa Lake via Getty Images for Moveon.org