The significant gains in health insurance coverage and improvements in health care access and affordability that followed the implementation of the key coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act in 2014 have persisted into 2017. Adults in all parts of the country, of all ages, and across all income groups have benefited from a large and sustained increase in the percentage of the US population that has health insurance. The gains have been particularly striking among low- and moderate-income Americans living in states that expanded Medicaid. Our latest survey data from the Urban Institute’s 2017 Health Reform Monitoring Survey shows that only 10.2 percent of nonelderly adults are now uninsured—a decline of almost 41 percent from the period before implementation of the ACA. Nonetheless, repealing and replacing the ACA remained under consideration during the summer of 2017, along with more systematic changes to the financing of the Medicaid program. Many people will be at substantial risk if key components of the law are repealed or otherwise changed without carefully considering the health and financial consequences for those projected to lose coverage. Though the politics of health reform are challenging, opportunities exist to create a more equitable and efficient health care system.
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