The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has succeeded in reducing the uninsured rate, improving access to physicians and medications, and making health care more affordable. Publishing their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers analyzed data from the 2012 to 2015 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, looking at over half a million Americans between the ages of 18 and 64.

Before the first enrollment period for the ACA began in October 2013, all the outcomes examined in the study showed worsening trends. By early 2015, the uninsured rate had dropped by 7.9 percentage points, while the percentage point drops for the following rates were: those who did not have a personal physician, 3.5; those who lacked easy access to medications, 2.4; those who reported fair or poor health, 3.4; and the percentage of days with activities that were limited by health problems, 1.7.

The ACA has particularly benefitted minorities. For example, Latinos saw an 11.9-point drop in the uninsured rate, compared with 6.1 percentage points among whites.

Among the 28 states (plus Washington, DC) that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, the uninsured rate among adults with an income below 138 percent of the poverty level dropped by 5.2 percentage points; the rate of such adults lacking a personal physician dropped by 1.8 percentage points; and the rate of such adults who had difficulty accessing medications dropped by 2.2 percentage points.

To read the study abstract, click here.