Today marks 10 years since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. The ACA has benefitted millions of Americans by expanding access to high-quality, affordable health care coverage. The law has been especially impactful for people living with HIV, hepatitis C, and other chronic conditions by bringing necessary reforms to our health care system. Some of these include:
- Stopping insurers from denying health care coverage to people due to pre-existing conditions;
- Requiring health insurance plans to cover essential health benefits, including prescription drugs, maternity services, and inpatient and outpatient hospital care;
- Offering enhanced funding to state Medicaid programs that increase their income eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level (around $17,600 for an individual);
- Providing financial assistance to low to middle income people buying private health insurance on the Marketplace;
- Requiring new plans to cover certain preventive care benefits (like HIV screening, hepatitis C screening, and birth control) without cost sharing; and
- Prohibiting health programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, age, and disability.
While we celebrate a decade of progress, we recognize that people continue to face barriers to health care. Fourteen states have not expanded Medicaid eligibility and many are applying for federal waivers to place harmful restrictions on their Medicaid programs The federal government is continuing its erosion of certain ACA provisions (such as the non-discrimination protections) and has failed to defend the law in the courtroom. Advocates continue to work day and night to ensure that the law is faithfully implemented and that vulnerable communities can continue to benefit from the ACA’s many reforms for years to come.
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