Peggy Salvatore did an outstanding job with the latest Health Wonk Review – don’t miss her “it’s beginning to look a lot like chaos!” edition. It’s chock full of great articles, so head over and check it out. One thing that stands out to me is that very few of the articles are specific to the ACA. For several years, the majority of the Health Wonk Review articles were almost always ACA-related. The fact that we’re not writing constantly about the ACA anymore seems to me like an indication that the reform law has become an established part of our healthcare system – it’s no longer news-worthy the way it once was.
To be sure, there are still things about the ACA that need to be fixed (and some members of Congress will continue trying to repeal it as long as they possibly can). But the majority of the law’s provisions have already been enacted. We’re getting used to the new normal. Remember when Medicare Part D was introduced, and created a huge kerfuffle for a while? That seems like a distant memory now (and people who are new to the insurance scene might not even remember all the hubub). We just know that open enrollment for Part D comes around every fall, and seniors have access to drug coverage now (which is getting better each year, thanks to the ACA).
Some provisions of the ACA are woven into just about every aspect of our healthcare system. But we’re getting use to them. We’re getting use to having an uninsured rate under 10 percent. We’re getting used to the idea that Medicaid covers adults with income up to 138% of the poverty level (well, in 30 states and DC anyway… we still have a long way to go on that one). We’re getting used to the idea of narrower networks and HMOs instead of broad PPOs. We’re getting used to the idea that pre-existing conditions are no longer a barrier to enrolling in a health insurance plan. We’re getting used to the fact that maternity coverage is included on health insurance plans (in Colorado, that’s been the case for almost five years now). We’re getting used to the idea of open enrollment periods in the individual market.
It’s not perfect, and we’ve still got work to do. But we’ve come a long way.