More than a decade after its enactment, the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains uncertain as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up another challenge to the law’s constitutionality in California v. Texas (known as Texas v. U.S. in the lower courts). Oral argument is scheduled for Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

The ACA remains in effect while the litigation is pending. However, if all or most of the law ultimately is struck down, it will have complex and far-reaching consequences for the nation’s health care system, affecting nearly everyone in some way.

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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How ACA Marketplace Premiums Measure Up to Expectations

Premium increases in the health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will likely be higher in 2017 than in recent years; however, the actual average benchmark premium in the ACA marketplaces in 2016 is below what the Congressional Budget Office projected for 2016 before the health law was passed. How actual marketplace premiums compare to what CBO expected in doing those budget projections is an important factor in determining whether the ACA continues to be on track to reducing the deficit.

JAMA Forum: The Partisan Divide on Health Care

In this post for JAMA, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt outlines the health care platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties, noting their fundamentally different aims and differing ideas about, among other things, the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and Medicare.

Summary of HHS’s Final Rule on Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination in health coverage and care based on race, color, national origin, age or disability, and, for the first time sex. This Issue Brief provides a technical summary of Section 1557 and the final rule and highlights new protections and provisions included in the law and rule. Notably, Section 1557 is the first federal civil rights law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in health care. Moreover, the proposed rule extends the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity. In addition, the final rule establishes regulations related to the provision of language assistance services based on long-standing HHS policy guidance.

A Look at Rural Hospital Closures and Implications for Access to Care: Three Case Studies

The number of rural hospital closures has increased significantly in recent years. This trend is expected to continue, raising questions about the impact the closures will have on rural communities’ access to health care services. To investigate the factors that contribute to rural hospital closures and the impact those closures have on access to health care in rural communities, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute conducted case studies of three hospital closures that took place in 2015: Mercy Hospital in Independence, Kansas; Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton, Kentucky; and Marlboro Park Hospital in Bennettsville, South Carolina. Two of these hospitals were in states that did not adopt the Medicaid coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Kansas and South Carolina), while one of the hospitals was located in a Medicaid expansion state (Kentucky).

The Next Big Debate in Health Care

In this Wall Street Journal Think Tank column, Drew Altman discusses why adequacy of health coverage will rise as an issue when
the political world moves on from its focus on the Affordable Care Act.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: June 2016

The June Kaiser Health Tracking Poll examines attitudes on the Affordable Care Act and provides an in-depth analysis of two of the biggest health policy stories of the month: the Zika virus outbreak and reports about the rising costs of ACA health insurance premiums.

Two Year Trends in Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment Data: Findings from the CMS Performance Indicator Project

This brief provides an overview of recent trends in Medicaid and CHIP enrollment as of January 2016, based on data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) produced as part of its Performance Indicator Project. The project was designed to provide timely data on Medicaid and CHIP eligibility and enrollment that are intended to help strengthen data-driven program management and oversight efforts at both the national and state level. They also provide insight into Medicaid and CHIP eligibility and enrollment experiences as the ACA is implemented. This brief examines data as of January 2016 to be able to look at two full years of data post implementation of the major coverage provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Overview of Medicaid Per Capita Cap Proposals

The House Republican Plan (“A Better Way”) released on June 22, 2016, includes a proposal to convert federal Medicaid financing from an open-ended entitlement to a per capita allotment or a block grant (based on a state choice). This proposal is part of a larger package designed to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reduce federal spending for health care. Often tied to deficit reduction, proposals to convert Medicaid’s financing structure to a per capita cap or block grant have been proposed before. Such changes represent a fundamental change in the financing structure of the program with major implications for beneficiaries, providers, states and localities. Key things to understand about a per capita cap include the following: how a per capita cap works, key design challenges, and implications of a per capita cap.

Medicare Advantage Hospital Networks: How Much Do They Vary?

This report takes an in-depth look at Medicare Advantage plans’ hospital networks. The analysis draws upon data from 409 Medicare Advantage plans serving beneficiaries in 20 diverse counties that together accounted for about one in seven (14%) Medicare Advantage enrollees nationwide in 2015. The report examines the size and composition of plans’ hospital networks, the variation across counties, the inclusion of Academic Medical Centers and NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, and the relationship between network size and other plan features, including premiums, quality star ratings, per capita Medicare spending, parent organization, and plan tax status.

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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.