The Affordable Care Act and Neighborcare Health in the '10s

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. Since then, the ACA has given millions of Americans access to affordable health insurance; between 2010 and 2018, the uninsured rate in the U.S. has dropped from 16 percent (48.6 million people) to an all-time low of 8.8 percent (28.3 million people).  

The ACA has three major goals: 

  1. Make affordable health insurance available to more people;
  2. Expand the Medicaid program to cover all adults with an income below 138% of the federal poverty level.
  3. Support innovative medical care delivery methods, such as walk-in clinics and comprehensive primary care centers.

The ACA included far-reaching health care reforms that led to a major changes to the U.S. health insurance system. The reforms were rolled out over four years, and included:

  • No restrictions on pre-existing conditions;
  • The expansion of Medicaid;
  • No lifetime or yearly limits on coverage;
  • Requiring all insurance policies to cover preventative care;
  • Giving all Americans access to affordable health insurance options through a health insurance exchange.

As the nation’s largest source of care for underserved communities and populations, community health centers (CHCs) played an essential role in proving care and helping people navigate the options now available to them. The ACA awarded CHCs $11 billion through 2015 to help them double their patient capacity. By the end of 2015, CHCs provided care to 24.3 million patients across the country, and 76% of CHC patients were covered by health insurance.

Since the ACA was signed, Neighborcare Health has made significant leaps towards our goal of providing 100% access to care. Over the last eight years, we opened seven neighborhood clinics and eight school-based health centers, experienced a 44% increase in patients, helped more than 50,000 people enroll in health insurance, and extended services to residents on Vashon Island.