By: Leah Howard
The numbers reflect the skepticism and wavering support of the bill. This year, 13 million people enrolled into the ACA. In 38 states, 4 million new people enrolled in insurance, which exceeded expectations of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Slyvia Burwell. Of the 4 million who enrolled in the ACA this year, 2.7 million were between the ages of 18 and 34. As impressive as these numbers may be, they still fall short of the predictions and expectations from years past. Compared to last year, enrollment numbers are dropping – in the last week 700,000 people signed up, as compared to 1 million last January.
Those who oppose the ACA analyze these numbers differently. There is concern about the number of people who did not enroll insurance. Currently for every one person who is insured, there are three who opt out of enrolling in insurance. There is also concern for those who are enrolling into insurance, the majority of whom will need the most medical care, are the sickest, and will have the most expensive medical bills. Other concerns have arisen about consumers dropping plans after receiving coverage—many insurers claim that an abnormally large amount of very sick patients enrolled last year during the special-enrollment period and then dropped their coverage after getting what they needed.
However, the low numbers may be due to the fact that people are purchasing private insurance as a result of the improving economy. Whether or not consumers choose the private sector or the ACA, it is clear that the goal of encouraging Americans to enroll in insurance is improving. While the future of the Affordable Care Act and universal health care is up in the air, each leading presidential candidate has a different stance on the ACA:
- Secretary Clinton has declared that she will not allow Republicans to repeal the ACA and work to increase the number of people enrolled in the healthcare marketplace.
- Bernie Sanders was for the ACA, but has bigger plans for it adopting a “Medicare for All” plan that would allow everyone to get insurance through the federal government.
- Senator Ted Cruz is for the repeal of Obamacare, but has not come up with an alternative plan, but claims a goal to unlink health insurance coverage from a person’s employer and pass a reform that will make health insurance affordable.
- Donald Trump has vowed to repeal the ACA and allow consumers to buy health insurance from any insurer in any state.
With the upcoming election, it will be interesting to see whether or not the ACA will be upheld, repealed, or revised under a new president.