More than 3 million young adults have gained insurance coverage after family coverage was extended through age 26. Since the law passed, closing Medicare’s “doughnut hole” allowed more than 7 million seniors and disabled people to save an average of $1,200 per person on prescription drugs.
Consumers have saved about $5 billion over the past two years through requirements that insurers spend at least 80% of the premium dollar on care for patients. And 71 million Americans with private insurance, as well as 25 million enrollees in Medicare, have gained coverage for at least one free preventive service.
The years since the ACA was passed have been marked by the slowest three-year period of health care cost growth on record. The ACA doesn’t bear full credit for this slowdown, particularly given the weak economy. But the fact that the slowdown has persisted even as the economy has improved, and the fact that costs have grown more slowly even within the Medicare program whose enrollees are largely protected from economic shocks, suggests that the ACA is playing some role in this historic slowdown.
The early success stories have been ignored in all the attention paid to the implementation problems.