The Affordable Care Act 101

January 26, 2017
One year after ACA is repealed, 18 million would be uninsured. Graphic by Doug Puller / Bread for the World

Poor health is a leading cause of hunger and poverty in the United States.

Access to affordable health insurance coverage will be a critical component in reaching the goal of ending hunger by 2030. In 2015, for the first time in eight years, the United States saw a significant decline in the overall rate of food insecurity and poverty. This decline was due, in part, to increased access to health care through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare.

Major provisions of the law included mandates for individuals to purchase or employers to provide health insurance, creation of health insurance exchanges, subsidies or tax credits for qualifying individuals and families to purchase health insurance through the exchanges, and expansion of Medicaid to individuals younger than 65 with gross incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. Other popular provisions include the ability to purchase insurance despite pre-existing conditions, coverage for young adults up to age 26 on a parent’s health insurance plan, and access to preventive care at no additional cost.

Repealing the ACA without a replacement plan would negatively affect progress made towards ending hunger in the United States by 2030. It would more than double the number of uninsured Americans and result in a higher rate of uninsured Americans than before the law was passed. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that more than 32 million Ameri-cans would lose the security of health coverage by 2026.

Take Action on This Issue

Call your members of Congress today at 800/826-3688. Tell your senators and representative to vote against any legislation that repeals the ACA or the expansion of Medicaid without a responsible alternative in place. Individuals and families should not have to choose between paying for food or paying for medical costs.

Tools
from our Resource Library

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  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

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  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

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  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

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For Advocacy

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Fact Sheet: Hunger by the Numbers

    In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

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