Has the Affordable Care Act Increased Access to Healthcare?

The Affordable Care Act is wildly unpopular (currently 37% approval versus 56% disapproval). There are many reasons for this – President Obama’s “you can keep your plan” deception, numerous scandals, overreaches, and infringements on religious liberties, rising costs, the disastrous roll-out of the exchanges in 2013, and so forth.

Supporters of the ACA usually try to distract from the law’s many failings by seizing on whatever good news they can find. In most cases, this means talking about the growing number of Americans who have health insurance. “Millions more Americans now have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. How can you oppose a law that expands access to health care? Why do you hate poor people?”

On the surface, this sounds convincing. If more people now have access to health care, that would be a good thing.

But this is actually a misleading figure. It’s the wrong metric to be looking at. Not to insult anyone’s intelligence, but health insurance isn’t the same thing as health care. Increasing the number people with health insurance is only helpful if it results in more people receiving the medical care that they need. Which begs the question. Has the Affordable Care Act increased the number of people receiving the medical care that they need?

A recent Gallup poll sheds some light on this. It turns out that the percentage of Americans putting off medical care due to cost is actually continuing to increase…despite a drop in the uninsurance rate.

Personally, I care more about helping sick people than I do about increasing health insurance purchase rates. For that reason, I oppose the Affordable Care Act.