Last week marked the 13th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010 under former President Barack Obama. This landmark legislation ushered in a decade of expanded coverage and decreased health care costs for millions of people across the United States. A new report released this week by the Commonwealth fund also found that the ACA significantly reduced racial and ethnic disparities in insurance coverage and access to care, ultimately driving the uninsurance rate down to a historic low of 8 percent. Data shows that prior to the 2013 expansion of Medicaid, a provision of the ACA, 40.2% of the Hispanic population, 24.4% of the Black population, and 14.5% of the White population were uninsured. However, by 2021, those numbers decreased dramatically to 24.5%, 13.5%, and 8.2%, respectively. The report also found that the coverage gap between Black and White adults dropped from 9.9 to 5.3 percent, while the gap between Hispanic and White adults dropped from 25.7 to 16.3 points.
States are continuing to prepare for the massive administrative undertaking that will come with the resumption of Medicaid redeterminations on April 1. An estimated 15 million to 18 million people will be at risk of losing their Medicaid coverage over the next few months. This number includes nearly 7 million people who will remain technically eligible for the program, but face barriers to filling out the required paperwork and updating the contact information necessary for a timely Medicaid renewal. Experts are also concerned that a lack of awareness about the redetermination process may make it more difficult for enrollees to obtain the kinds of documentation required to prove their eligibility. While states can start removing enrollees from the program on April 1, a majority of states plan to do it over a 12-to-14-month period due to agency capacity issues and to avoid administrative errors.