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Affordable Care Act Celebrates 10th Anniversary Amongst Uncertainty Of Coronavirus Coverage

Pete Souza
President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010.

The Affordable Care Act is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The landmark legislation has had a huge impact on the way health care operates in the United States. More than 20 million people have health insurance as a result of the ACA, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Still, since it passed in 2010, the ACA has challenges that threaten its efficacy. As the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, there are questions about the kinds of care this legislation guarantees and its limitations.

>>The Latest WUWM & NPR Coronavirus Coverage

Phillip Rocco is an assistant professor of political science at Marquette University and an expert on public policy. He recently wrote a paper examining the ACA for the Journal Health Affairs

The ACA was designed to be nebulous in order to patch holes in the current health care system. That approach is what Rocco says can make this law difficult to understand.

"One lesson of policy reform is that if you have benefits that are great if only people knew about them, to what extent are you really expecting that voters are going to be able to make sense of all of these things that are wrapped in this big complicated package," he says. 

One question with the spread of the coronavirus is: What parts of treatment are covered under the ACA? Rocco says the fact that we even have to ask can prevent people from seeking treatment.

"That question, 'Will you be able to get the test for free?', not a question in the United Kingdom that has a National Health Service, not a question in Taiwan, not a question in countries that guarantee a certain minimum of health benefits as a citizenship right," he explains.

To find more information about what is covered go to the Blog

Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM in 2016.