A Voter’s Guide To The Health Law
Fri, Feb 05 2016
Nearly six years after its enactment, the Affordable Care Act remains a hot-button issue in the presidential race — in both parties.
“Our health care is a horror show,” said GOP candidate Donald Trump at the Republican debate in South Carolina Dec 15. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, winner of the Iowa caucuses, said at the debate in Des Moines Jan. 28 that the health law has been “a disaster. It is the biggest job-killer in our country.”
Democrats largely support the law, but even they can’t agree on how to fix its problems. Hillary Clinton said at the Jan. 25 town hall on CNN that she wants to “build on the ACA. Get costs down, but improve it, get to 100 percent coverage.”
Clinton’s rival for the nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, acknowledged that “the Affordable Care Act has done a lot of good things,” but added that “the United States today is the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all people as a right.” Sanders is pushing a government-run “Medicare for All” plan instead.
In some cases candidates are bending the truth. But in general, both praise and criticisms of the law are accurate. That’s because the health law is so big and sweeping that it has had effects both positive and negative.
Here is a brief guide to some things the health law has — and has not — accomplished since it was signed by President Barack Obama in 2010.
CLAIM: The law has increased the number of people with health insurance coverage.
This is true, no matter what measure you use. The official Census Bureau and polling firm Gallup both found substantial drops in the percentage of people without health insurance after the majority of the law’s coverage expansions took effect in 2014.
COUNTER-CLAIM: There are still millions of Americans who don’t have insurance.
This is also true. Even though approximately 90 percent of Americans now have insurance, that remaining 10 percent amounts to more than 30 million people.