The Affordable Care Act: Is It Helping the Working Class?

The Affordable Care Act Is It Helping the Working Class

In the years following the roll out of Obamacare, there has been much speculation as to whether or not the new health care system has really delivered on its promises. Ever since it was first signed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has been one of the most controversial and contested laws of all time – and its rocky roll out didn’t help soothe critics’ concerns, either.

While much more time will be needed to gauge the system’s overall impact, data released from the first full year of the Affordable Care Act shows some pretty incredible results. The analysis reveals historic increases in coverage for immigrants, minorities, and low-wage workers – a group that is considered an important part of our country’s workforce.

According to the New York Times, coverage increased dramatically for Americans in the direst of situations. Part-time workers gained insurance at a higher rate than full-time workers, people with high school degrees gained it at twice the rate of college graduates, and adults living in households headed by a sibling or cousin (typical for those trying to get back on their feet) gained insurance at double the rate of those in traditional households.

For years, the working poor have often been stuck – they made too much money to qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, but were unable to get insurance through their jobs, either. In the past, government programs have done little to help those in this situation. Now, the new law requires most Americans to have health insurance and gives subsidies to those who can’t afford it.

While some states have opted out of the law, leaving their residents still without coverage, low-earning people in our country as a whole have seen an overwhelmingly positive effect. Minorities have been the big winners with the Affordable Care Act, making up two-thirds of the increase in insured adults across the country. Minority men who work as groundskeepers and janitors rose from 51 percent to 59 percent insured on the year. Hispanic male construction workers rose to 43 percent insured from 36 percent the previous year.

Finally, as health coverage for this demographic has increased, providers in some of the most underprivileged areas of the country are noting a sharp rise in preventative care. With people proactively seeking cancer screenings, smoking cessation and more, there’s a real potential for a healthier American workforce – even for those whose employers don’t offer health insurance.

As the health care laws and practices in our country continue to grow and evolve, we can be certain that there will be several more kinks to work out. However, despite its controversy and shortcomings, it’s exciting to see evidence that the Affordable Care Act has been able to help so many to find coverage and relief.


Carrie Charity Murphy is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions and Improve comedienne based in Louisville, Kentucky. She lives with her husband Ben and their two dogs, Sprocket and Ms. Brisby.
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