Editorial: Why the Affordable Care Act should be saved, not killed

Published April 1, 2019

The Affordable Care Act has been the law of the land for nine years and touches the lives of nearly every American. It ensures no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. It also ensures no one can be bankrupted by medical bills, because it bans lifetime limits on insurance coverage. The law has saved countless lives, and it is supported by far more Americans than oppose it. Yet the Trump administration has irresponsibly announced it wants to overturn the entire law by agreeing with a Texas judge who ruled that it is unconstitutional. Never mind that neither the president nor congressional Republicans have an alternative ready to replace the Affordable Care Act. The case is now before a federal appeals court. Here's a reminder of 15 facts and what is at stake.

21 million Americans could lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act is overturned.

102 million Americans have a pre-existing medical condition that could raise their premiums or deny them coverage altogether if they sought insurance without the protection of the Affordable Care Act, according to a study by Avalere, a health care consulting firm. That's half of Americans enrolled in coverage outside Medicare or Medicaid.

About 8 million Floridians have pre-existing conditions, including 2.1 million Floridians who have individual coverage.

1.8 million Floridians signed up for health insurance in the federal exchange under the Affordable Care Act for 2019.

#1. Florida's rank among the 39 states that use the federal health care exchange.

Florida is one of the states that are plaintiffs in the Texas lawsuit where the federal judge ruled the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

55% of American voters support improving, not replacing, the nation's health care system, according to a Quinnipiac poll released last week.

2 million young adults 26 and under are covered by their parents' insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

46.5 million non-elderly Americans (17.8%) were uninsured in 2010 before the Affordable Care Act was passed, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

27 million were uninsured in 2016.

10.2% of Americans still lacked insurance in 2017.

12.9% of Floridians, or more than 2.6 million residents, still lacked insurance in 2017. That's the fifth-highest uninsured rate in the nation.

42% is by how much the uninsured population has dropped under the Affordable Care Act.

$50 billion is how much medical care for the uninsured would rise without the Affordable Care Act, according to an Urban Institute estimate.

9 years is how long the Affordable Care Act has been the law of the land. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.