Taking Stock of the ACA

A must read for anyone who is interested in framing a debate about ACA.

Code Red: Two Economists Examine the U.S. Healthcare System

With the ACA exchange enrollment deadline behind us, this is a good time to take a look at the big picture. Three years after the first baby steps of implementation, what has the ACA accomplished?

When we consider the ACA, we can think of two broad goals. The “easy” goal was expanding coverage to the uninsured. We say “easy” because regulators should be able to succeed by simply throwing money at the problem, and that is a task our elected officials seem particularly adept at accomplishing. The “hard” goal was bringing down the rate of growth in health care spending. This has proven to be a difficult task for policy makers, who have been trying (and failing) for decades and have often done more harm than good.

We first consider the goal of expanding coverage to the uninsured. From its onset, the ACA chalked up a small victory by requiring…

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