Despite coming under attack from Republicans, Obamacare is popular for giving those with pre-existing conditions access to healthcare.
It’s been 12 years since the Affordable Care Act — or “Obamacare” — was passed and made health insurance a lot more accessible, and affordable, for millions of North Carolina.
Passed under former President Barack Obama, the ACA was a turning point in healthcare access for many people otherwise unable to afford plans on their own.
And under President Joe Biden, nearly four out of five people using the federal marketplace set up by the ACA are paying less than $10 a month, thanks to enhanced subsidies.
Among those benefiting from the Affordable Care Act is Susie Evans, a Charlotte woman whose two daughters have serious health conditions that require expensive, frequent treatments.
“Without insurance, prescription costs would have bankrupted my family,” Evans said in a press conference this week. One of her daughters needs human growth hormones, which have totaled $300,000 over four years.
Other ways the ACA changed the game:
- Required employers to provide health coverage to employees, with exceptions for small employers
- Required people to have health insurance
- Set up a federal insurance marketplace and gave federal subsidies to many seeking insurance
- Made insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions, which can include asthma, diabetes, and even pregnancy.
- Allowed young people to stay on their parent’s insurance plans until age 26.
- Got rid of lifetime insurance caps
- Made sure some preventative care and immunizations would be provided at no cost to patients
That doesn’t mean Obamacare has been universally loved. Quite the opposite, in fact. Republican lawmakers have spent years unsuccessfully trying to overturn it through the courts and it’s turned into a partisan talking point.
That’s even though the things that the ACA made possible —protections for those with pre-existing conditions— are backed by 80% of Americans. In fact, one 2020 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 67% of Republican voters wanted to keep those protections, but somehow 77% of those same voters thought the ACA should be overturned.
And here in North Carolina, the Republican state legislature still hasn’t opted to take federal money to expand Medicaid, a provision under the ACA that would extend health coverage to an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians that make too little to afford healthcare coverage on their own.