The Affordable Care Act remains a controversial topic in politics, but some benefits are cropping up in the health care field itself. Insurance coverage rates have risen dramatically since the implementation of the ACA, and this could potentially pay some big dividends. Researchers have now found that the ACA may be encouraging people to seek preventative care. The results of their findings were published this September in Health Affairs.
Researchers found that those people who had obtained insurance were much more likely to have their chronic conditions diagnosed. Those without insurance were more likely to not visit doctors, and thus their diseases would go undiagnosed. With chronic diseases, early treatment can be vital for preventing death and complications. Identifying early diseases also generally decreases the costs of treatment.
Those with insurance also generally exhibited better vital health indicators, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose. Conditions like diabetes and pre-diabetes can be prevented, or the worse effects mitigated, so long as the disease, or the conditions that could lead to the disease, are discovered early on.
To be clear, the argument made by the researchers focused on increasing insurance rates leading to increased preventative coverage. For the argument to work, the Affordable Care Act would have to reduce uninsured rates. Recent estimates have suggested that the uninsured rate has dropped by 7.9% so far due to the ACA.
Researchers looked at data from 28,157 people with their ages ranging from 20 to 64. The data gathered in a survey from 1999 to 2012.
While the ACA has drawn critics from both the left and the right, the program has largely been well regarded for its efforts to increase preventative care. Obama made preventative care a vital part of his pitch for his health care program, and while many of his ambitions did not make it into the final bill, his focus on preventative care did.
Whether or not the Affordable Care Act will be able to cement Obama’s legacy remains to be seen. Numerous GOP candidates have already targeted the act, and some have gone as far as to promise to repeal it if elected to office. So far, GOP efforts in Congress have failed to repeal so-called Obamacare, but if a Republican party member gains the highest office, they may be able to repeal the act.
Some candidates, such as Donald Trump, don’t want to do away with the entire system, but instead want to make adjustments. Trump said he’d do away with state lines and create a national marketplace.
Interestingly, the majority of Americans (56%) do not want to see Obamacare repealed, so it may be dangerous for the Republican party to repeal the act even if they do take the highest office.