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Increased Access and Better Benefits

Published on December 15th, 2017

The L.A. Times reported the latest on the beneficial effects of ObamaCare.   A report – based on a state-by-state survey of data collected by the federal government – provides powerful new evidence that insurance gains made through the 2010 healthcare law are helping millions of patients get needed medical care.  Americans are no longer putting off doctor visits or struggling with medical bills, according to a new report examining the effect of the Affordable Care Act.

“The Affordable Care Act has put access to healthcare in reach for millions of Americans, particularly for people in states that embraced the law,” conclude the authors of the report, published by the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund.  Across the country, the law is credited with extending health coverage to more than 20 million previously uninsured Americans and dropping the nation’s uninsured rate to the lowest levels ever recorded.

An increasing number of studies have found similarly dramatic improvements in patients’ access to care after they get coverage.

“The fact is health insurance helps people get access to care, gets them better preventive care and more regular care for chronic medical conditions,” said Dr. Benjamin Sommers, a health policy researcher at Harvard who has extensively studied the effect of health insurance.

Between 2013 and 2016, the share of adults reporting that they delayed medical care because of concerns about cost declined in 45 states.

The percentage of adults at risk of being in poor health who had not been to the doctor in the previous two years declined in 37 states.

And the share of working-age adults with high out-of-pocket medical bills fell in 35 states between 2013-14 and 2015-16, according to the report, which is based on census data and national health surveys overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These gains were particularly pronounced among low-income Americans, who have arguably benefited most from the 2010 law’s coverage expansion.

 

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