More than a decade after its enactment, tens of millions of people nationwide rely on coverage options created through the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA). The law has survived multiple court challeges at the U.S. Supreme Court and repeated attempts by Republicans in Congress to repeal it. Subsequent legislation has scaled back some aspects of the law and expanded others, including by the COVID-19 relief bill, the American Response Plan Act of 2021. This page highlights relevant analysis about the ACA and proposed and enacted changes to it..

For information about ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment, including fact sheets and 300+ FAQs, visit our collection of resources on Understanding Health Insurance.

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Health and the 2016 Election: Implications for Women

The leading US presidential candidates and their parties’ platforms offer distinct and often opposing policy proposals on issues that affect women’s health. In the Women’s Health Issues journal, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Caroline Rosenzweig, Usha Ranji, and Alina Salganicoff present their analysis of the differences between the Democratic and Republican parties on range of women’s health policy issues – including the Affordable Care Act, reproductive health, older women’s health, and violence prevention.

Federal and State Standards for “Essential Community Providers” under the ACA and Implications for Women’s Health

Safety net providers such as community health centers and family planning clinics have served a significant role in the provision of primary care and reproductive health care services to low-income and uninsured people, particularly women. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a provision aimed at assuring that newly-insured individuals, as well as those without coverage, can continue seeing their trusted safety net providers, also called Essential Community Providers (ECPs). This brief reviews the definition of ECPs, examines the federal and state rules that govern the extent to which plans must include these providers in their networks, identifies the variation from state to state, and discusses the particular importance of these rules and providers for women’s access to care.

Safety-Net Emergency Departments: A Look at Current Experiences and Challenges

Safety-net hospital emergency departments (EDs) are an important part of our health care system, especially, but not only, for the uninsured and others with low income. With multiple major changes unfolding in our system today, including the development of new models of health care delivery, payment reforms, expanded insurance coverage, and increasing demand for primary care access, safety-net EDs are a sort of crucible in which these shifts and transitions can be seen playing out. To understand more about their current experiences and challenges as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins to takes hold, we conducted interviews with ED directors in a convenience sample of 15 safety-net hospitals around the country in June and July 2014.

An Overview of Actions Taken by State Lawmakers Regarding the Medicaid Expansion

The ACA Medicaid expansion has garnered different responses from statelawmakers – Democratics and Republicans as well as governors and legislatures. While it does not cover how every state has enacted the ACA Medicaid expansion, this fact sheet highlights some of the different actions state lawmakers have taken in response to the ACA Medicaid expansion.

The Effects of the Medicaid Expansion on State Budgets: An Early Look in Select States

This brief examines the early state budget effects of the ACA Medicaid expansion in three states: Connecticut, New Mexico, and Washington State. States were asked about savings and costs in Medicaid, behavioral health, corrections, uncompensated care spending, etc. as well as revenues. Findings from a study looking at Kentucky are also included.

Sen. Mark Pryor Spotlights the Health Law’s Rx for Pre-Existing Illnesses

In a column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman explains why Senator Mark Pryor’s new campaign ad features the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, the somewhat forgotten “mega provision” of the law.

Evolving Picture of Nine Safety-Net Hospitals: Implications of the ACA and Other Strategies

Safety-net hospitals are an integral part of the U.S. health care landscape, providing care to some of the nation’s most medically vulnerable populations, including Medicaid enrollees and the uninsured. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. health care system is rapidly changing, and safety-net hospitals need to make major adjustments to survive in the post-reform environment. This brief draws on interviews with executives at nine safety-net hospital systems and examines how their hospitals have fared since major coverage provisions of the ACA came into effect in January 2014. The brief also examines new and ongoing strategies that the hospitals are adopting in the face of a quickly changing health care environment. While acknowledging the importance of the ACA, executives at each system in the study noted that other non-ACA related factors have also shaped how their hospitals fared over the last year. The hospitals in the study were: Cook County Health and Hospital System (CCHHS); Denver Health (Denver Health); Harris Health System (Harris Health); New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC); Parkland Health and Hospital System (Parkland); Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System (SCVHHS); San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH); University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC), and Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCU). These hospitals participated in two earlier related studies that examined how the systems were preparing for health care reform.

Americans’ Health Priorities Diverge From Washington’s Focus on Obamacare

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman finds the public’s healthcare priorities have more to do with drug costs and other real world issues people deal with using the health care system than the ongoing partisan wrangling over the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Survey of Non-Group Health Insurance Enrollees, Wave 2

The survey is the second in a series exploring the experiences and perceptions of people who purchase their own health insurance, the group perhaps most affected by the Affordable Care Act’s reforms to the individual insurance market and tax subsidies to make such coverage more affordable. It includes people in ACA-compliant plans sold both inside and outside the federal and state marketplaces, as well as those still in non-compliant plans, which took effect prior to January 2014 and in many cases do not comply with all the law’s requirements.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.