Affordable Care Act Summary Pros And Cons

To provide a balanced view of the ongoing debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act, here are some of the often-discussed pros and cons:


  • Subsidies offer financial assistance to those who need it, making healthcare more affordable.
  • Preventive care is covered, encouraging people to stay healthy and catch potential health issues early.
  • Insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
  • Medicaid eligibility has been expanded in some states, providing coverage to more low-income individuals and families.
  • Dependents can stay on their parents' insurance plan until the age of 26.
  • Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime coverage limits.


  • While some people have seen a decrease in their healthcare costs, others have seen an increase or no change at all.
  • Some employers have stopped offering health insurance to their employees, leaving them to find coverage on their own.
  • The individual mandate penalty, which required individuals to have health insurance or face a tax penalty, was repealed in 2019, potentially leading to more uninsured individuals.
  • Some insurance plans have narrow provider networks, limiting access to certain doctors or hospitals.
  • Shopping for coverage can be complicated and time-consuming, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with the healthcare system.

The United States is faced with the challenge of increasing healthcare costs and a lower average life expectancy compared to other advanced economies in the OECD. To address this issue, the US government has undertaken a significant healthcare system strengthening effort, which is the largest since the last 50 years. This effort led to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a remedy for a chronic market failure that affects about 10% of the US population in terms of access to healthcare and the rising cost of healthcare. The ACA is the most extensive healthcare system reform in the US since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicaid and Medicare Amendments to the Social Security Act on July 30, 1965. Many scholars and policymakers are interested in whether the ACA can meet the high demands for healthcare services, reduce the cost of services, and avoid unintended consequences in a complex market economy.

Affordable Care Act Benefits Summary 

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or "federal health reform," was signed into law on March 23, 2010, and amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act on March 31, 2010. With over 900 pages, the act includes numerous provisions that have various effective dates. This comprehensive reform addresses various aspects of the U.S. healthcare system and has been the subject of ongoing debates and discussions. For more detailed information on specific topics, refer to other papers in this series.