According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 51 million Americans, including 7 million children, are uninsured. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will expand health coverage to more than 30 million of these uninsured Americans, but this potential will only be realized through comprehensive and effective implementation of its many coverage-related provisions.
Why This Matters
- Uninsured people live sicker and die sooner than others. An estimated 18,000 - 22,000 Americans die each year because they don't have health coverage.
- Many of the key provisions of the law leave it up to state leaders to determine how provisions will be implemented. As a result these leaders will decide how effective the new law will be in providing Americans with access to comprehensive, affordable coverage. As part of the implementation process state and federal policymakers will continue to make key decisions that will affect how many Americans have health insurance.
- Nearly 5 million children who are uninsured are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These children do not need to wait until ACA is implemented to get covered, and there are efforts under way right now to make sure they get insured.
In addition to providing health coverage to more than 30 million previously uninsured Americans, the ACA introduces major changes to the insurance market, beginning in 2014. Insurers will no longer be able to discriminate based on health status or gender, cap benefits or rescind coverage retroactively.