One of the most transformative aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the way it made affordable health care more accessible. The ACA gave states the option to expand Medicaid, created the public health insurance marketplace and removed arbitrary barriers to care based on pre-existing conditions. In the twelve years since the passage of the ACA over 20 million additional people have gotten coverage, and this year there was a record-breaking enrollment of 14.5 million applicants for Marketplace coverage!
But as we saw in the period from 2016-2020, enrollment numbers can be severely impacted if a presidential administration is not supportive of expanding coverage. Lack of investment in outreach during the Trump administration led to a steep drop in Marketplace enrollment. While it is encouraging to see the Biden administration re-invest in Marketplace outreach, the original goals of the ACA are still incomplete. Further action is needed to keep health care premiums low into the future and there are still 2.2 million people, predominantly from Black and brown communities, caught in the Medicaid coverage gap. Additionally, federal investment in community-based organizations directly working in impacted communities is critical to reaching people who are still uninsured.
Since the implementation of the ACA, Community Catalyst has led initiatives around outreach, education and enrollment to ensure communities most in need of quality, affordable health coverage are able to access it. Most recently, Community Catalyst launched their Organizing for Outreach initiative. We work with national and state partners across the country to give them the tools, knowledge and resources they need to reach out to their community and connect them to affordable coverage. Through our Organizing for Outreach web page Community Catalyst has created a hub of resources, knowledge sharing and community building for advocates in the field. Exciting new tools like the peer-to-peer texting platform Hustle are being rolled out to Partners in the near future, ensuring that our advocates have the latest tools to engage with their members. For more information about Outreach and Enrollment initiative visit the Community Catalyst Website.