The Affordable Care Act is the nation’s health reform law enacted in March 2010. The law aims to reform both our private and public health insurance systems.
Since it was enacted, it has helped about 20 million people get health insurance. Among the law's many goals: increase benefits and lower costs for consumers, provide new funding for public health and prevention, bolster our health care and public health workforce and infrastructure, foster innovation and quality in our system, and more.
But the ACA is threatened with repeal. And a 2018 tax law repeals the ACA's individual mandate beginning in 2019, a move that could increase insurance premiums and is expected to result in many millions of Americans becoming uninsured.
Read this fact sheet on why we still need the Affordable Care Act. (PDF)
Proposals to repeal the ACA would also eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Use these state-specific fact sheets to educate your members of Congress about how the fund is benefiting your state.
Visit our Key Resources page for a rundown of all ACA-related activity.
APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin talks about the Prevention and Public Health Fund:
Why is the ACA so important?
- Millions still need insurance: Though the ACA has helped about 20 million get health insurance, about 29 million people still lack coverage.
- Unsustainable spending: Health care spending represented 17.9 percent of our gross domestic product in 2015.
- Lack of emphasis on prevention: Today, seven in 10 deaths in the U.S. are related to chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer, which are largely preventable. Additionally, 86 percent of our health care dollars are spent treating such diseases. However, only three cents of each health care dollar spent in the U.S. go toward prevention.
- Poor health outcomes: The U.S. spends far more on medical care than any other industrialized nation, but ranks 26 among 43 OECD countries in terms of life expectancy.
- Health disparities: While inequities related to income and access to coverage exist across demographic lines, population-based disparities are impossible to deny.
The ACA is an important step forward. By making health coverage more affordable and accessible and thus increasing the number of Americans with coverage, by funding community-based public health and prevention programs, and by supporting research and tracking on key health measures, the ACA can help begin to reduce disparities, improve access to preventive care, improve health outcomes and reduce the nation’s health spending.