A recent move by members of Congress to vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has left millions of U.S citizens at risk of losing healthcare coverage. While the issue has largely become a political talking point on both sides of the aisle, what often gets lost in the debate is the true level of impact, both positive and negative, this legislation has actually had. These numbers become especially important when considering where Michigan and other states should stand in the debate.
The ACA (also known as ‘Obamacare’) allowed for the expansion of many states’ Medicaid programs, including Michigan’s. When Governor Rick Snyder signed the Healthy Michigan plan into law in September of 2013, it was estimated that up to 400,000 individuals would receive coverage. According to Mlive, the number of Michiganders receiving healthcare coverage due to this expansion has grown to over 630,000 as of January 2017. In Kalamazoo County alone, over 14,000 individuals have enrolled in the program.
An expanded Medicaid program isn’t the only way the ACA has positively impacted Michigan. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services estimates that nearly 313,000 Michiganders have purchased health insurance through the Michigan Health Insurance Exchange (an ACA established marketplace for individuals to shop for insurance plans). Of those plans purchased through the Exchange, 88% have been eligible to receive tax credits to lower the cost of monthly premiums. This has helped to nearly cut in half the number of uninsured individuals in the state of Michigan by bringing the percentage of the population that is uninsured from 11% down to 6% between 2013 and 2015.
In addition to a reduction in the number of uninsured individuals in the state, Michigan has also experienced significant job growth. According to a study by the University of Michigan, the state has seen an increase of 30,000 jobs per year under ACA programs. This has also led to an increase in consumer spending of over $2 billion as well as state budget gains of over $400 million due to increased sales and income tax revenue for the state, as well as federal coverage of costs that Michigan was previously responsible for paying.
The ACA has of course not been without its detractors. In an article by the Detroit Free Press, it was noted that in 2006, the average insurance deductible in the state of Michigan was $571. By 2015, this number had more than doubled to $1,431. Additionally, because of minimum coverage mandates within the law, many people are forced to pay for coverage they don’t need, especially young people. Due to shared risk pools, numerous younger, healthier people are now finding health insurance to be more expensive as they take on the costs of older, less healthy individuals as well.
While the ACA has certainly not been flawless, it is an undeniable fact that Michigan has benefitted greatly from it. From reductions in the number of those uninsured, to increases in jobs and money to the state budget, a simple repeal of this law would most certainly be felt throughout Michigan. If you would like to let your representatives know how you feel about this issue, contact them at: 202-224-3121