Thursday, April 05, 2012

Why We Need the Affordable Care Act

Last week the Supreme Court held arguments on the constitutionality of several provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And earlier this spring, House Budget Chair Paul Ryan released a proposed budget that would repeal the ACA (See Generations United’s response to the Ryan budget). Generations United is very concerned that repealing the ACA will have a serious and detrimental impact on the long-term budget outlook for the national and undo many critical provisions that support America’s most vulnerable populations.

The Government Accountability Office recently released a report entitled “The Federal Government’s Long-Term Fiscal Outlook.” This report concluded that repealing key provisions of the ACA would contribute to a significant increase in the federal debt due to spending on Medicare and Medicaid. According to the GAO, without the ACA in place, spending on Medicare and Medicaid would grow to over eight percent of GDP by 2030.

As a result of the reforms made in the ACA, Medicare is expected to save $418 billion over 10 year. The savings will come from making Medicare more efficient by improving the way health care providers deliver care, modernizing how Medicare pays for those services, and eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse. The GAO report highlights the importance of not recklessly overturning the ACA, or using other means such as the Ryan budget proposal to mandate ACA repeal along with attacks Medicare and Medicaid.

Generations United strongly supports the ACA. The intergenerational provisions within the bill provide vital health care protections and services to children and older adults. However, these benefits are not yet guaranteed. Since the ACA’s provisions are phased in gradually, lawmakers must continue to fund and support the implementation of the ACA for all its provisions to take full effect.

Learn about these benefits and more in Generations United's fact sheet, Health Care Benefits for Children & Older Adults: The Affordable Care Act.

-Eric Masten and Rachel Snell

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