Five years ago today, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land. Since then, more than 16.4 million people have gained access to health care coverage, many for the first time.Chalkbaord image with balloons and listed reasons to love the ACA

The passage of the ACA was a monumental achievement for individuals and organizations across the country. Here at Community Catalyst, we continue to be incredibly proud of all our state partners who have worked tirelessly to implement the law in their own states and as part of a national effort. 

Consumer health advocates have made the law work by:

  • Setting up State Marketplaces or working with federal policymakers to improve the Federal Marketplace. 
  • Training thousands of in-person assisters who sit down with consumers and help them understand not only how to enroll in health care coverage but what it means to have coverage.
  • Ensuring that individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid have high-quality care that is coordinated and comprehensive.
  • Closing the coverage gap in 28 states (plus the District of Columbia) so everyone can benefit from the full intent of the ACA.
  • Releasing nationwide information about drug and device manufacturer payments to doctors and teaching hospitals, beginning a new era of sunshine and transparency. The information, which is made public under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, shows the millions of ways that drug and device manufacturers try to influence doctors using gifts, free meals, free travel and other payments of some value.

We know there is much more to do, but the ACA is a really strong start toward creating a system where everyone can receive and afford high quality care. Repeated efforts to repeal the law as a whole or take it apart piece by piece have not been successful. However the threats are not over, and we are committed to protecting the law and working to improve it every step along the way. We cannot return to the days when young adults could not stay on their parents’ plans, when women were charged more for their care than men, and when insurers could deny people coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

Today is a day to celebrate what our partners have achieved and, more importantly, what consumers have gained. Happy 5th Birthday ACA!