Press Release Affordable Care Act Economic Crisis and Recovery Health and Social Programs United States

Pandemic Shows Strengths and Weaknesses of 12-Year-Old Affordable Care Act

March 22, 2022

Contact: KL Conner, 202-281-4159Mail_Outline

Washington DC — On the occasion of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) anniversary, CEPR research associate Hayley Brown reflects on the lessons the pandemic holds for US health care policy.

In this article released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Brown acknowledges the ACA “as a landmark piece of legislation that significantly expanded health insurance coverage in the United States,” but says the “system remains deeply flawed [and] will require more fundamental overhauls.”

Temporary relief funding from the American Rescue Plan further expanded access and lowered costs, allowing the ACA to better meet the pandemic demand for health care. Over the last year, a record number of people in the US obtained health coverage through the ACA.

However, Brown points to the major flaw in the ACA that remains. Though it increased the number of insured, the ACA largely kept in place a for-profit private insurance industry that still leaves millions uninsured or otherwise unable to access needed care. And like a house built upon the sand, the ACA sits on a foundation of a for-profit system that is expensive, administratively complicated, and prioritizes financial prerogatives over the needs of patients.

“Shoring up the ACA during the pandemic averted catastrophes,” said Brown. “But the Biden administration must champion more ambitious policies that would truly reform health care in this country.” 

You’re cordially invited to join us live on the ACA’s anniversary

Tomorrow, join Hayley Brown, author of As the Affordable Care Act Enters Adolescence, US Health Care Still Has Growing to Do, and CEPR’s senior policy fellow Shawn Fremstad, to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. They will discuss the law’s legacy, the pandemic, and the prospects of achieving universal health care under this administration.

Location: Twitter Space 
Date: Wednesday, March 23rd 
Time: 12 PM ET

Support Cepr

If you value CEPR's work, support us by making a financial contribution.