Since I signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth of health care costs is down, to its slowest rate in fifty years – two of the most promising developments for our middle class and our fiscal future in a long time.
More Americans with insurance have gained new benefits and protections – the 100 million Americans who’ve gained the right to free preventive care like mammograms and contraception, the eight million seniors who’ve saved thousands of dollars on their prescription drugs, and the untold number of families who won’t be driven into bankruptcy by out-of-pocket costs, because this law prevents insurers from placing dollar limits on the care you can receive.
More Americans without insurance have gained coverage. Over the past four years, over three million young Americans have been able to stay on their family plans. And over the past five and a half months alone, more than five million Americans have signed up to buy private health insurance plans on HealthCare.gov – plans that can no longer discriminate against preexisting conditions or charge you more just because you’re a woman or a cancer survivor – and millions more have enrolled in Medicaid.
It is these numbers, and the stories behind each one of them, that will ultimately determine the fate of this law. It is the measurable outcomes – in savings for families and businesses, healthier kids with better performance in schools, seniors with more money to spend because they’re paying less for their medicine, and young entrepreneurs who’ll have the freedom to try new jobs or chase that new idea – that will ultimately offer more security and peace of mind to more Americans who work hard to get ahead.
Last month, after her first wellness visit under her new insurance plan, a woman from Colorado shared with me what that peace of mind meant to her. “After using my new insurance for the first time, you probably heard my sigh of relief from the White House,” she wrote. “I felt like a human being again. I felt that I had value.”
This is what’s at stake any time anyone, out of some outdated obsession, pledges to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act. And that’s why my administration will spend the fifth year of this law and beyond working to implement and improve on it.
If you’re an American who wants to get covered – or if you know someone who should – it’s now last call for 2014. March 31st is the deadline to get covered this year. So check out HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 to see what new choices are available to you, and get covered today.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was written before the announcement earlier this week that people who started their application for Obamacare insurance on the HealthCare.gov website, would be able to enroll past the deadline if they experienced technical problems signing up. HealthCare.gov sells plans in 36 states.