As the fate of the Affordable Care Act yet again awaits a Supreme Court hearing, the Obama administration announced today that more than 16 million Americans have received insurance coverage as a result of the healthcare law, the Associated Press reported.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said this represents “the largest reduction in the uninsured in four decades.”
The White House also said that, while all racial and ethnic groups had seen a rise in coverage, minority groups saw the largest gains. The uninsured rate dropped more than 12 percent among Hispanics, more than 9 percent among African-Americans, and more than five percent since the beginning of 2014.
The bulk of people getting their coverage through the federal and state exchanges –14.4 million adults — became insured after the wide-scale expansion at the end of 2013. More than 2 million people had already gotten coverage through other previously implemented provisions of the law, including one that allowed young adults to stay covered through their parents’ plans until they turned 26.
The ACA has been plagued by partisan bickering since day one. Congressional Republicans unsuccessfully tried more than 40 times to repeal the law and have now managed to get a case essentially over the wording of the legislation before the Supreme Court.
Those attacking the ACA argue that specific phrasing in the law, particularly the definition of “the State,” makes it illegal for the federal government to grant subsidies to customers in states that did not set up their own insurance exchanges. The Obama administration argues that the law was clearly written with the purpose of expanding the subsidies into those states.
A SCOTUS decision isn’t expected until the end of June, but studies have estimated that eight million people might lose their coverage if the Court strikes down the subsidies.