New Hampshire Marks Bittersweet 10-Year Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act Amid Coronavirus Crisis
Concord, NH– Today, more than 100,000 people have healthcare in the Granite State thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was signed into law a decade ago. And, it comes a time when the threat of COVID 19 reminds us all of the importance of everyone having access to quality and affordable health coverage.
But the anniversary is bittersweet, as some politicians have tried to eliminate the ACA through legislation and sabotage, but their most recent attempt comes in the form of a lawsuit to overturn the law brought by several Republican state officials. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in the case later this year.
Protect Our Care NH and the NH Health Care Coalition have asked for the lawsuit to be dropped—particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic - because no one should ever wonder whether or not they have access to care, especially during a crisis like this. The ACA not only offers affordable access to healthcare, but it guarantees no charge testing and vaccinations, as well as coverage to those who have lost their jobs. And, rolling back Medicaid expansion only further destabilizes the individual market.
According to Senator Jeanne Shaheen“The ACA has helped thousands of Granite Staters and millions of Americans gain access to quality, affordable health care. Without this law, Americans could still be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions; patients with chronic conditions would still face lifetime caps and annual coverage limits; and young people would not have the advantage of remaining on their parents’ plans until age 26. Ten years later, the ACA continues to provide essential health benefits to Americans despite numerous attempts to weaken, dismantle or repeal it. Given the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of quality, affordable health care has never been more critical. We should all take a moment to celebrate this important milestone and renew our commitment to fight to protect the ACA. With everyone working together, I know that we will continue to enjoy the protections of the ACA for years to come.”
The Affordable Care Act has helped working families to get health insurance in New Hampshire, cutting the uninsured rate by more than half. The ACA has been successful in bringing affordable health care to millions of Americans, and thousands of Granite Staters. It has improved access to care, gotten better coverage and access to treatment for people with opioid-use disorders, and made healthcare affordable to most NH residents.
Senator Margaret Hassansaid, “Since its passage ten years ago, the Affordable Care Act has been critical for expanding quality, affordable health coverage to millions of Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions. I am working on a number of efforts to improve and build on the Affordable Care Act to continue to bring down health care costs, including the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, and I will also keep working to stop partisan efforts to sabotage our health care system and strip away coverage from hard-working people.
As our country grapples with the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to quality health insurance could not be more important. In the days ahead, I will continue to push for additional bipartisan legislation to help protect the health and economic well being of all Americans amid this public health crisis.
Thank you to Protect Our Care for your hard work and advocacy to defend and strengthen the Affordable Care Act. I look forward to our continued work together to ensure that all Americans can receive the care that they need and deserve.”
A lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act was filed on February 28, 2018 and was joined by 19 other states. On April 9, 2018 a coalition of 17 states filed to intervene in defense of the ACA and has since grown. Granite State Progress and other members of the NH Health Care Coalition have repeatedly called on Governor Sununu to join the lawsuit in defense of the Affordable Care Act, holding several news conferences and visiting the Governor’s office with constituent appeals. Two weeks ago, the governor acted.
“The Affordable Care Act was an important step in improving access to health care for Granite State families and people across the country. The ACA expanded access to care for tens of millions of Americans and the expansion of Medicaid has been critical in our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic in New Hampshire.
“Unfortunately, since coming to Congress, I have had to vote more than 50 times not to repeal the ACA. We’ve seen President Trump and Republicans in Congress fail over and over to repeal the health care law. Now, the President is directing his administration to dismantle the ACA through the courts, all while promising to protect Americans with preexisting conditions. Rather than stripping millions of their health insurance, we should be building upon the progress we have made and working to improve the ACA and expand access to quality, affordable health care while ensuring protections for the most vulnerable among us. I was proud that the House of Representatives passed my bill to ensure that people with preexisting conditions are protected, and it’s past time for the Senate to pass that bill. Today, I stand with the millions of Americans who are committed to working together to protect the ACA to build upon our progress and work toward achieving universal access to health care for all Americans.” According toRep Annie Kuster.
Congressman Chris Pappasput it this way: “For people in New Hampshire and across the country, the Affordable Care Act is a lifesaving law. Ten years ago today, on March 23, 2010, President Obama signed this landmark health care legislation into law, ensuring that millions of Americans could receive health coverage as well as essential patient protections. Half the adult population in New Hampshire has a pre-existing condition, and we absolutely cannot go back to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against them. In these unprecedented times, the Affordable Care Act is needed more than ever, and I remain committed to defending this law from those who seek to play politics with the health and well-being of individuals across the country.”
What can New Hampshire do to support the ACA going forward in the current crisis?
- Listen to Scientists. Politicians should take the politics and partisanship out of the response, listen to experts and clearly communicate information that Americans can trust.
- Ensure Testing and Treatment is Available and Affordable. We need to ensure that coronavirus testing, vaccines, and treatments are available and affordable to all Americans whether they have health insurance or not.
- Prepare Hospitals and Health Care Workers. We need to ensure that our doctors, nurses and other health care workers have the training and equipment that they need, and that our health care system is prepared to treat all those who need care.
ACA at 10 in New Hampshire
The Affordable Care Act has been a positive force in the lives of millions of Americans over the last 10 years. The facts are clear:
- 100,000 Granite Staters gained health coverage. Because of the ACA, more than 100,000 Granite Staters gained health coverage.
- 44,581 Granite Staters have coverage through the individual market. Last year, 44,581 Granite Staters were covered by marketplace or non-marketplace plans subject to ACA consumer protections. Nationwide, 82 percent of Americans enrolled through the marketplace were satisfied with their plans.
- Insurers can no longer deny or drop coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Because of the ACA, insurers in the individual market can no longer drop or deny coverage, or charge you more because of a pre-existing condition. More than 572,200 Granite Staters have a pre-existing health condition.
- Women no longer charged more than men. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer charge women more than men for the same care, and insurers are now required to cover important health benefits like maternity care. Before the ACA, 75 percent of non-group plans refused to cover maternity care.
- Annual and lifetime limits are gone. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer put annual or lifetime limits on the care you receive.
- Young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26.Because of the ACA, roughly 9,000 young adults in New Hampshire have coverage because they can stay on their parent’s coverage until age 26.
- New Hampshire was able to expand Medicaid. Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid. More than 57,000 Granite Staters have coverage through Medicaid expansion.
- Preventive care is free. Because of the ACA, health plans must cover preventive services — like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no cost to consumers. This includes nearly 690,524 Granite Staters, most of whom have employer coverage. This will likely include the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.
- Coverage is comprehensive. Because of the ACA, insurers have to cover what are known as “essential health benefits,” such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and substance and mental health. This would include treatments for the coronavirus.
- Tax credits are available to help people afford coverage. Because of the ACA, most people getting coverage on the marketplace qualify for tax credits to help pay for coverage. 31,179 of the ACA marketplace enrollees in New Hampshire receive premium tax credits.
- Access to care and financial security improved. Between 2010 and 2018, the share of non-elderly adults with a problem paying a medical bill fell by 17 percent, the share who didn’t fill a prescription fell by 27 percent, the share who skipped a test or treatment fell by 24 percent, and the share who didn’t visit a provider when needing care fell by 19 percent.
- Prescription drugs are more affordable for seniors. Because of the ACA, the Medicare prescription drug donut hole is closed. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report.