The Affordable Care Act has achieved at least part of what it set out to do—but there are still quite a few questions about the long-term impact of the health legislation, according to a new study published in the journal Health Services Research.
“One of the main goals of the ACA, which was to reduce the number of uninsured, was actually happening quite well,” says Michael T. French, the lead author of the study and a professor of health economics at the University of Miami. “Along with insurance, people are getting better access to care.”
French and the researchers on the paper examined thousands of reports and academic articles about the health care legislation. Then they synthesized the results of the most rigorous studies.
They found significant evidence that the Affordable Care Act did lead to more people with health insurance through the dependent coverage extension, the health insurance exchanges developed under the act, and Medicaid expansion—although in states that did not expand Medicaid, there was less. And while insurance costs continue to rise, they’re not rising nearly as quickly as they did before the act.
“What’s harder to measure is whether the provision of insurance—or the moving from uninsured to some form of insurance—whether that leads to better health,” said French.
Researching the study did turn up at least one surprise:
“One of the most curious statistics about the ACA rollout is that the city of Hialeah, and specifically zip code 33012, has one of the highest rates of signup for the ACA compared to all other regions of the country,” said French. “So although the Republican-dominated city of Hialeah might not be a big fan of [President] Obama, they certainly love Obamacare.”
You can find more results and the full text of the article at the journal publisher’s website.