Obama Outlines Progress of ACA, Steps for the Future of Health Care Reform: Page 2 of 2

July 12, 2016

In a related editorial, Jonathan Skinner, PhD, of Dartmouth College and Amitabh Chandra, PhD, of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, questioned some of the claims made by Obama, by addressing the difference between expanding insurance coverage and improving health and savings.

“Counting up the number of individuals with insurance is not enough to assess if the ACA was a success,” They stated. “Perhaps the more important measures are whether the ACA improved health and saved money. For example, the 2008 Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, a randomized trial of Medicaid expansion, found that… although almost everyone reported being able to see a physician, hypertension and diabetes control did not change relative to the control group, overall medical spending increased by $1000 per person annually, and emergency department use increased by 40%.”

However, Skinner and Chandra concluded that the implementation and progress of the ACA have been a success. “President Obama has every reason to be proud of a remarkable achievement,” they said. “The nation is better off with the ACA, despite its shortcomings, than without. But health insurance, health care, and health, although often used interchangeably, are not the same. Even though the ACA has, to this point, not accomplished its goal of making health care more affordable, it is also far more moderate, innovative—and difficult to replace—than its critics claim.” –David Costill



Obama, B. United States Health Care Reform. JAMA. [Published online July 11, 2016].

DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.9797.

Skinner J, Chandra A. The Past and Future of the Affordable Care Act. JAMA. [Published online July 11, 2016].

DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.10158.