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Health Law Coverage Has Helped Many Chronically Ill — But Has Still Left Gaps

By Kaiser Health News  
   January 24, 2017

Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the number of chronically ill Americans with insurance increased by about 5 percentage points in 2014, the first year the law required Americans to have coverage.

This article first appeared January 23, 2017 on Kaiser Health News.

By Shefali Luthra

As President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress devise a plan to replace the 2010 health law, new research suggests a key component of the law helped people with chronic disease get access to health care — though, the paper notes, it still fell short in meeting their medical needs.

Research published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the number of chronically ill Americans with insurance increased by about 5 percentage points — around 4 million people — in 2014, the first year the law required Americans to have coverage, set up marketplaces for people to buy coverage and allowed for states to expand eligibility for Medicaid, the federal-state insurance plan for low-income people. If states opted into the Medicaid expansion, people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, depression and asthma were more likely to see those gains.

Still, the study suggests, the law fell short in terms of guaranteeing those people could get medical treatment, see a doctor and afford medications.

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.


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