Health Care Reform
July 7, 2015
Can the Affordable Care Act survive?

Five years after enactment of President Obama’s landmark health insurance law, the administration reports that the percentage of uninsured Americans is down, the quality of health care services has improved and health care spending has slowed. In addition, polls show Americans’ attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are changing: Opinions are evenly split, with 43 percent reporting a favorable view and 42 percent an unfavorable view of the law — the narrowest split in about three years. More people feel the law has helped them and fewer feel the law has hurt them, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Furthermore, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a key tenet of the law in June, a victory for the administration. Clouding the ACA’s future, however, is the new Republican-controlled Congress. GOP lawmakers have voted more than 50 times in recent years to repeal or limit the measure because they say it is too expensive and represents government overreach, but had been blocked from moving forward by the Democrat-controlled Senate. Thus, 2015 promises to be a another important year for the longevity of so-called Obamacare.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks to Tea Party supporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court on March 4, 2015, as the justices were scheduled to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The court is expected to rule by the end of June on whether tax credits to help moderate-income Americans pay for health insurance are legal in the 37 states that did not set up insurance marketplaces. (Getty Images/Bloomberg/Andrew Harrer)   Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks to Tea Party supporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court on March 4, 2015, as the justices were scheduled to hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The court is expected to rule by the end of June on whether tax credits to help moderate-income Americans pay for health insurance are legal in the 37 states that did not set up insurance marketplaces. (Getty Images/Bloomberg/Andrew Harrer)

The aim of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), adopted in March 2010, was to increase consumers’ access to health services, improve the quality of health insurance and services and reduce medical costs. Critics of the law charge it is an expensive regulatory burden on the U.S. economy that is causing job losses. They also say it represents governmental overreach into people’s health decisions and personal freedom.

Over the past year, advocates of the law, dubbed Obamacare, have cited tangible results toward their goal of improving Americans’ health.

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