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National News

Breaking records, 1.4M Michiganders have ACA coverage, state uninsured rate plummets

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BY: KEN COLEMAN AND JON KING

New data released by the federal government, the number of Americans enrolled in health care plans related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has hit an all-time high both nationally, and in Michigan.

The information, released Friday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said that based on 2023 and early 2024 enrollment data, 45 million people are currently enrolled in Marketplace or Medicaid expansion coverage under provisions of the ACA, the highest total since its inception. 

In Michigan, the data indicate more than 1.4 million residents have ACA coverage, also a record. The number of Michiganders without any health insurance has plummeted since 2013 when it stood at 11%, but is now down to just 4.5%, a more than 40% decrease.

Marcie Paul, a Michigan resident, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years ago. She credits the ACA with helping to save her life.  

“It was really a lifesaver for my family,” Paul said. 

Saturday marks 14 years since the ACA was signed into law by former President Barack Obama. More popularly referred to as Obamacare, the law requires insurers to cover essential health benefits, allows people to stay on their parents’ health plans until they’re 26 and prevents insurers from denying care based on preexisting conditions.

The 45 million Americans enrolled in ACA-related coverage represents 14.1 million more people enrolled than in 2021, a 46% increase, and 32.5 million more than were enrolled than in 2014, a 258% increase.

“The Marketplaces have become a pillar of American society, a guaranteed place where people can find affordable, quality coverage,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “… At HHS, we will keep doing everything we can to ensure more people have access to affordable, high-quality health care and the peace of mind that comes with it.”

Michigan Democrats and President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign have held a series of events this week touting the ACA.

“Some of the very first actions I took as Attorney General were in defense of the hard-won protections of the Affordable Care Act,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “… The ACA is essential to ensuring access to care for the nearly 2 million Michigan residents with preexisting conditions, almost a million more covered through Medicaid expansion, and the tens of thousands of young Michiganders able to stay on their parent’s insurance into early adulthood.”

Nessel also applauded the Biden-Harris administration for their efforts to protect the ACA and she vowed that she “will continue to do everything in my power to defend it.”

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist called the ACA “transformative,” adding that it “ended some of the most gross inequalities of the health care system.”

State Rep. Stephanie Young (D-Detroit) credited Biden for helping to pass the law while serving as vice president.

“[I]t makes sense that he’s going to do everything in his power to keep it, and it makes sense for us to do everything in our power to keep it,” Young said.  

The Biden campaign has slammed former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner, and Republicans for efforts to repeal the ACA.

“Donald Trump and his allies in Michigan are once again pushing an agenda that would rip away Michiganders’ hard-earned freedoms, health care, and reproductive rights,” Biden Michigan Communications Director Alyssa Bradley said Friday. “If Trump gets reelected, Michiganders’ rights will once again be at risk, no matter what protections we have at the state level.”

A call to the Michigan Republican Party was not returned. 

This article is republished from the Michigan Advance under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.