The NBJC Blog

NBJC Celebrates the 8th Year Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and Continues Efforts to Ensure All Americans Have Access to Affordable Quality Care

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 22, 2018) – The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS, released the following statement in recognition of the eighth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which continues to face attacks led by the Republican Majority in Congress and the White House.

“It has been eight years since the ACA improved access to quality care for so many Americans.  The benefits extend beyond individual Americans who were granted access previously denied but also benefit our country as critical provisions of the ACA help to address  critical health disparities disproportionately impacting Black communities across the country,” said NBJC Executive Director David Johns. “The moves the Trump Administration and Republican allies in Congress are attempting to make  are designed to strip Americans of the right to affordable, quality care and this is both unacceptable and unamerican.”

As a result, due to the ACA and the the expansion of the Medicaid program, Black communities, LGBTQ/SGL people, and other underserved populations have seen a significant increase in recent years of access to affordable and sustainable health care insurance.  Through core provisions of the law like the expansion of Medicaid to states and the requirement that insurance cover 10 essential health benefits including preventive and wellness services, the ACA has lowered insurance costs, provided financial protections from health care costs to Americans, and helped more than 20 million Americans gain access to health care. The ACA further banned insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions like HIV/AIDS, a practice that disproportionately impacts women, individuals from racial/ethnic minority communities and poor people. These important provisions are critical to ensuring coverage of and ultimately the health and wellness of communities that have historically been left out and locked out of systems of care. 

We have made much progress since the passage of the law. For example the uninsured rate of nonelderly African Americans decreased by more than one-third between 2013 and 2016, from 18.9 percent to 11.7 percent. Additionally, A 2013 Center for American Progress study before the implementation of ACA found that nearly 390,000 uninsured LGBTQ/SGL individuals could qualify for Medicaid in states that planned to expand the program, while approximately 1.12 million uninsured LGBTQ/SGL individuals could receive subsidies to help with the cost of coverage in insurance marketplaces across the nation.

The ACA has created a new paradigm for access to health care insurance in our nation, yet too many policymakers are attempting to push us backwards by repeal or significantly changing the law. Last December, Congressional Republicans passed a massive tax bill that slashed taxes for corporations and the top one percent, and also repealed the ACA’s individual mandate, which is at the foundation of the health law. According to a recent Urban Institute study, 6.4 million more Americans are estimated to be uninsured in 2019 as a result of the elimination of the individual mandate penalty and other policy changes. If the ACA is fully repealed or fundamentally altered as the Trump Administration is attempting to accomplish progress made to ensure more Americans have access to quality affordability care would be significantly undermined and as a result the economic and social fabric of our country further stressed.

“It is critical to ensure that every American is supported in living happy, healthy and whole lives--which requires physical, mental, and emotional health and wellness. It cannot be the case any longer that access to affordable care is limited to those with financial wealth and social capital,” Johns said. “As we celebrate the eighth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and the historic efforts to provide the American people with access to quality care and support we must remain steadfast in the commitment to continuing the work to ensure that every member of our community in living full and healthy lives.”