The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to simply as the ACA or Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The ACA is intended to expand access to health insurance coverage for millions of uninsured Americans by expanding eligibility for Medicaid and developing health insurance marketplaces where uninsured persons may be eligible for subsidies to make private health plans more affordable. While expanding access to health insurance is a big part of the ACA, there are many other purposes of the law, including provisions intended to reform the health care delivery system to produce better patient outcomes at lower cost.
AOTA was very active in the legislative process leading up to the passage and signing of the ACA, working to achieve victories such as inclusion of rehabilitation and habilitation in the essential health benefits package. AOTA has also been monitorting the regulatory process at the federal and state levels as the ACA has been implemented, and has been advocating for occupational therapy practitioners and consumers. The dynamic environment created by health care reform creates opportunities, but vigilant monitoring of implementation activities and carefully executed advocacy efforts are necessary to ensure occupational therapy is valued and protected in the future.
Please also see the Health Care Reform Implementation page on AOTA's website at: http://www.aota.org/Advocacy-Policy/Health-Care-Reform.aspx
The answer is...we still don't know. That may come as a surprise to those who are tuned in to the political rhetoric of congressional leaders. The Washington Post's Fact Checker clarified that statements made by both Democratic and Republican congressional leaders fail to account for the impossibility of knowing the precise number.
I mentioned some of the challenges of coming up with an accurate number in a previous webinar. Among the many barriers are that state Medicaid programs, state health insurance marketplaces, and the federally-facilitated marketplace are all reporting enrollment at different times using varying criteria, that often doesn't take into account whether an enrollee is "newly insured." The truth is, with the open enrollment period lasting until the end of March, it could be many months before accurate estimates of the number of newly insured people in 2014 are available.
Right now, I've seen estimates that the newly insured for 2014 nationally could be as low as about 1.5 million or as high as many times that. One thing is sure, almost 4 years after being signed into law, the Affordable Care Act will seemingly maintain its status as good political fodder for the foreseeable future.