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Today is the 10-year Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

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By Raju Chebium ·

Ten years ago today, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, which has improved the lives of millions of people.

Ten years later, President Donald Trump is trying to destroy the ACA while our nation struggles to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

Although no law is perfect, nearly everyone has benefitted in some way by the changes and guarantees the landmark law provides – no cap on annual or lifetime benefits, allowing children to stay under their parents’ plans until age 26, no coverage denial due to preexisting conditions, to name a few.

And, despite numerous attempts by Republicans to derail ACA over the years, it remains more popular than ever before. Why wouldn’t it? After all, more than 20 million people gained coverage thanks to that law, according a March 2019 study.

According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, 17.8% of this country’s nonelderly population was uninsured in 2010. By 2018, it was down to 10.4%. In 2010, 20.5% of the population was covered by Medicaid and other public insurance programs. By 2018, that share had risen to 24.8%.

The overall uninsured rate would be lower and the percentage of the population covered by Medicaid would be higher if all states had expanded Medicaid. Instead, as of today, 14 states rejected that option offered under the ACA. As a result, at least 2 million adults lack health insurance. In states that opted to expand Medicaid, more rural hospitals have remained open and ready to care for their community.

Nearly 2.3 million young adults who gained coverage through their parents’ health plans and millions of working Americans whose employer-provided coverage no longer caps their benefits can rest a little easier during these times.

In the face of unprecedented uncertainties unleashed by the pandemic, the Trump administration persists in its efforts to destroy the very law that gives millions of Americans hope. Trump’s Justice Department has instead asked the Supreme Court to put off ruling on the lawsuit challenging the law until after the November elections.

As AFSCME President Lee Saunders said back in July 2019, “Americans have spoken decisively at the ballot box: they want to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and give more people access to the health care they need. But the Trump administration and its political allies shamefully continue to use the courts to jeopardize the health care of millions of people. … Health care is a right and not a privilege. It’s time to protect and expand that right for everyone.”

This rings truer today than ever before.

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