The Exchange

Commentary and Observations from
the Medical Front Lines

The Future of the Affordable Care Act

The Future of the Affordable Care Act

We've been hearing a lot about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and whether the Supreme Court will overturn the law or parts of the law. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) recently completed a survey of adults in the United States on their views about the ACA and healthcare. The KFF survey was completed 1 month prior to the presidential election, October 8-12, 2020. It found that the majority of people surveyed do not want to see the Supreme Court overturn the ACA's protections on preexisting conditions. It also found that six out of 10 adults surveyed do not want to see the Supreme Court overturn the entire ACA. The survey has been distributed annually, and support for this issue has increased by 10% from last year's results. About half of adults say they are worried that they or someone in their family will not be able to afford health coverage (54%) or will lose coverage (51%) if the Supreme Court overturns the entire ACA.

The survey also found that healthcare issues in general are a high priority for voters in deciding who to support in the upcoming election. For 74% of voters, the most important healthcare issue was protections for people with preexisting conditions. Nearly six in 10 adults (59%) reported living in a household with someone with a preexisting or chronic health condition that would have led to them being denied coverage or having to pay more prior to the passing of the ACA.

For 62% of voters, lowering the cost of healthcare and protecting the future of Medicare was very important, noted as the second priority of those surveyed. Lowering prescription drug costs, the health aspects of COVID-19, and the future of reproductive health—including protecting a women's right to choose—were very important to 60% of those surveyed.

What hasn't changed for voters over the past year are views on Roe vs Wade. About seven in 10 (69%) Americans say they do not want to see the Supreme Court overturn the 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling that established a woman's constitutional right to have an abortion. This percentage has been consistent over the past year.

It is critical that all of us, as healthcare clinicians, vote if we are able to. The choices we make can have an impact on healthcare for our patients and our families.

  • Kaiser Family Foundation. KFF health tracking poll – the future of the ACA and Biden's advantage on health care. Accessed October 27, 2020.

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Filed under: Health Policy and Trends, Practice Management/Career

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