- President Barack Obama on Monday published a special communication online in JAMA.
- He noted his pride in the ACA's policy changes and progress toward a better healthcare system in general. However, he acknowledged "more work to reform the healthcare system is necessary."
- "I think Congress should revisit a public plan to compete alongside private insurers in areas of the country where competition is limited," Obama wrote.
Obama's communique coincided with Gallup's findings that the uninsured rate has remained at a historical low (11%) from the first quarter of this year. The writing was also released shortly after presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton released a fair share of healthcare proposals, including a step toward a public option.
The president's writing outlines the accomplishments and effects (direct or indirect) of the Affordable Care Act, his flagship legislation he signed into law on March 23, 2010. For example, he noted the rate of hospital-acquired conditions has declined by 17% from 2010 to 2014.
"[R]esearch has found that Medicaid expansion improves the financial security of the newly insured," he wrote, citing the amount of debt sent to a collection agency was reduced an estimated $600-$1,000 per person who gained healthcare coverage through Medicaid.
While noting his pride in the ACA, Obama gave some suggestions for healthcare reform moving forward. In addition to calling upon Congress to revisit the public option, he wrote he hopes all 50 states expand Medicaid coverage in the coming years. Nineteen states still have yet to expand Medicaid programs as of July 1.
Obama suggested that financial assistance should be increased to make health coverage more affordable. "The steady-state cost of the ACA’s coverage provisions is currently projected to be 28% below CBO’s original projections, due in significant part to lower-than-expected Marketplace premiums, so increased financial assistance could make coverage even more affordable while still keeping federal costs below initial estimates" he wrote.
Obama called on Congress for another suggestion: Not to take a step backward on health reform. He noted that change is difficult, but especially so when "hyperpartisanship" is involved.
“While the lessons...may seem daunting, the ACA experience nevertheless makes me optimistic about this country’s capacity to make meaningful progress on even the biggest public policy challenges,” the president concluded. “Many moments serve as reminders that a broken status quo is not the nation’s destiny.”