Health care in uncertain times

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, has not always been an agreeable issue. Some say it is expensive, while others say their lives have been saved by access to health insurance.

By looking at the numbers, we can see that the health care law is a tremendous benefit to this country.

About 20 million people in the United States had no insurance before the health care law was passed. Many people were routinely denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. The health care law, for the first time in our nation’s history, provides a framework to confront these problems.

$2.1 trillion has been saved in national health care spending since the health care law was passed in 2010.

While some states have seen increases, in 2014 individual insurance premiums decreased by 10 to 21 percent, on average. And today, 8 out of 10 people pay only $50 to $100 per month for coverage through the Health Care Marketplace.

Health Care Marketplace tax credits allow coverage to be more affordable. Tax credits are based on income and cap your monthly premium between roughly 2 percent and 9.5 percent of your total household modified adjusted gross income. The percentage can be adjusted each year. A rise in the cost of health care will be met with larger available subsidies,  to keep the cost of coverage affordable.

Expanding Medicaid

Individuals may fall into a coverage gap if they make too much income to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to be eligible for tax credits that make private health insurance affordable. States can help those individuals by expanding Medicaid and closing the coverage gap.

States that have decided not to expand Medicaid are not fully benefiting from the health care law. In Nebraska, expanding Medicaid would cost only $250 million over 10 years. By not expanding Medicaid, the state loses $3.1 billion in federal funding and $1.6 billion in hospital reimbursement over the same period.

According to the Urban Institute, for every dollar a state invests in expanding Medicaid, the state receives $13.41 in federal funds. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, this translates to a 7 percent reduction in insurance premiums.

Enroll now

The window to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace is now open, and will end on Jan. 31. 2017. To have health insurance by Jan. 1, the deadline to enroll is Dec. 15. By enrolling now, you are guaranteed coverage through 2017 and you will avoid a fine. Click here to enroll.

With the implementation of the health care law, we have seen health care spending decrease, millions of people insured, and a guarantee of coverage for those with preexisting conditions. The system is working for our nation.



"Explaining Health Care Reform: Questions About Health Insurance Subsidies." Health Policy Research, Analysis, Polling, Facts, Data and Journalism. Kaiser Family Foundation. Nov. 1, 2016.

McMorrow, Stacey, and John Holahan. "The Widespread Slowdown in Health Spending Growth Implications for Future Spending Projections and the Cost of the Affordable Care Act An Update." ACA Implementation—Monitoring and Tracking The Widespread Slowdown in Health Spending Growth Implications for Future Spending Projections and the Cost of the Affordable Care Act (2016): Urban Institute. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. June 2016.

Adler, Lauren, and Paul B. Ginsburg. "Obamacare Premiums Are Lower Than You Think." Health Affairs Blog. Health Affairs. July 21, 2016.

Misra, Arpit, and Thomas Sai. "Health Insurance Marketplace 2015: Average Premiums After Advance Premium Tax Credits Through January 30 in 37 States Using the Healthcare.Gov Platform." ASPE. Department of Health and Human Services. June 16, 2016.

Dorn, Stan, Megan McGrath and John Holahan. "What Is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid?" Timely Analysis of Immediate Health Policy Issues (2014): Urban Institute. Robert Woods Johnson Foundation. August 2014.