The Affordable Care Act Thirteen Years Later: What Did It Accomplish?

Maks_lab /
Maks_lab /

On March 23, 2023, President Biden touted thirteen years of success under the Affordable Care Act, a nearly 20,000-page bill passed under the guise of making health insurance affordable for everyone.

Many pet projects lived within this monstrosity, and several Democratic leaders were bribed behind closed doors with pork-barrel promises if they supported the bill.

The most outrageous part of the Affordable Care Act was a requirement that citizens either signed up for health insurance they couldn’t afford or be penalized $2000 that they also couldn’t afford. Never before have US citizens been punished by their own government for their inability to afford something the government was forcing them to purchase.

Many Americans fall between the cracks with the Affordable Care Act. These Americans are too poor for insurance, yet make too much money to be eligible for assistance. For these people, Obamacare caused far more damage by placing healthcare firmly beyond their financial reach. As of a study conducted in 2021, it’s estimated that nearly 30 million people remain without insurance.

Democrats believe that when they raise taxes or regulate an industry, the industry will roll over and cover the losses themselves. Consumers who understand reality know that the costs of these increases pass directly to them. Obamacare’s pie-in-the-sky promises were no different.

For every American who received coverage under the Affordable Care Act, there was another American who was forced out of a health insurance plan due to astronomical hikes in premiums. Even employer insurance rates were hiked, and Americans were left trying to calculate which would hurt their wallet less-the cost of insurance or the $2000 fine.

To the Democrat’s surprise, people chose to pay the $2000 fine. The Affordable Care Act depended on young, healthy people purchasing insurance they never used to make up the difference for those who purchased insurance and used it regularly. Instead, these Americans took a gamble on good health because they couldn’t afford coverage. As usual, the Democratic rose-colored glasses were shattered by reality.

In 2019, then-president Trump and his party removed the individual mandate, meaning that Americans were no longer forced to pay a fine for their inability to afford insurance.

In addition, he allowed states to extend Medicaid benefits to all low-income adults, even those who work and raised the income threshold to make more Americans eligible for the program. He went on to allow Americans to purchase lower coverage insurance plans, known as “skinny” policies, for long-term use, placing affordable plans back within reach of Americans.

To be fair, Obamacare does have its merits. Those with pre-existing conditions can’t be denied coverage, although they face hefty premiums in exchange for that coverage. Parents can keep dependents on their plans until age 26. And those with chronic health issues no longer face individual insurance caps.

But Obamacare has hurt as many people as it has helped. Businesses slash hours to avoid paying for costly employee insurance. People who don’t qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act have been forced to drop their existing insurance due to premiums that have, since the bill’s passage, doubled and even tripled. And smaller insurance companies were driven out of the market altogether. And many physicians, faced with lower payments and stringent requirements, quietly retired.

And yet, President Biden took to the stage to tout his accomplishment from thirteen years ago, taking the opportunity to bash Republicans as he did so. Considering his current 38% approval rating and lack of meaningful accomplishments to date, clinging to the past is his only option.

In an economy where millions are being forced to choose between paying the mortgage and purchasing insurance, he’d be better off not reminding Americans that he had anything to do with Obamacare in the first place.