Health care coverage “increased significantly” among people with HIV because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).
The growth was a direct result of expanding Medicaid, the government health insurance for low-income people. In fact, in the states that elected to expand Medicaid, the number of people with HIV who were uninsured dropped from 13 percent to 7 percent between 2012 and 2014. That number did not significantly change in states that didn’t expand Medicaid.
The KFF analysis is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Medical Monitoring Project. The results also showed that more people with HIV who are in care are relying on the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, increasing from 42 percent in 2012 to 48 percent in 2014. This included people with private insurance as well as those with Medicaid. Breaking apart those two groups, KFF writes that “Ryan White reliance for those with private insurance increased by 15 percentage points and by 7 percentage points for those with Medicaid, demonstrating the ongoing role of the program in the ACA era.”
Why did the ACA result in more people with HIV getting health insurance? As the KFF points out, before the ACA, “people with HIV faced limited access to insurance coverage due to several barriers, including preexisting condition exclusions, high costs, Medicaid eligibility limitations and other challenges. Several key provisions of the ACA removed these barriers.”
This is important to note as the Trump administration vows to repeal and replace the ACA.