Happy First Birthday to the Affordable Care Act

One year ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, enacting the most significant restructuring of the country’s health care system in more than four decades. In its first 12 months, the law has:

  • Enabled young adults who need affordable coverage to remain on their parents’ health plan until age 26;
  • Provided tax credits to offset premium costs for small businesses that offer coverage to their employees;
  • Enabled persons who were previously denied coverage by insurers to purchase a plan through California’s new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan; and
  • Provided millions of California seniors with high prescription drug costs a $250 rebate check to help pay for medications.

By 2019, the ACA aims to expand coverage to more than nine out of 10 non-elderly California residents, a significant increase from the 78.8 percent of non-elderly California residents currently with coverage.

A new California Budget Project Budget Brief seeks to provide Californians with an understanding of the law. The Brief describes new consumer protections and the law’s impact on coverage – both for individuals who purchase coverage privately and for those who obtain coverage through public programs, such as Medi-Cal.

— Hanh Kim Quach