By: Robin Andrews/IFL Science The Republican Party has been obsessed with the mantra “repeal and replace” ever since their archenemy piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law back in 2010. Now, on the eve of its potential revocation, a new study has been published that reveals one major benefit of the ACA – namely, it has greatly reduced the number of cardiac arrests in the US.
Writing in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers compared emergency medical care statistics for an urban country both before and after the ACA, better known as Obamacare, came into effect. They found that the incidences of cardiac arrest were 17 percent lower post-ACA.
This affliction is fatal in 90 percent of cases, so this study suggests that a lot of lives have been saved as a result of the ACA’s expansion of healthcare coverage. It only looked at Oregon, but the county they used has a varied demographic that is fairly representative of the wider nation.
Speaking to ResearchGate, coordinating author Sumeet Chugh, a cardiologist from the Cedars‐Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, speculated that the repeal of the ACA would “potentially negate these effects.”
“We hope that we will not have the opportunity to perform that study!” he added, echoing the views of medical professionals up and down the country that the ACA should stay.
The Senate’s healthcare bill, the replacement to the ACA, is nothing less than a travesty – and as this study suggests, it will cost lives if it passes. America’s top medical professionals have come out very strongly against it, as have the public. Surveys show that the public dislikes the bill by a margin of 7-to-1.
Known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), it is a harsher version of the House’s bill: It will leave millions of the poorest Americans – particularly women, the sick, disabled, elderly, and very young – without healthcare of any kind, and instead gives billions to the wealthiest echelons of society. The President, for one, doesn’t appear to understand why people see this as a bad thing.
Our summary of its impacts can be found both here and here, but the most striking fact is this: If the bill is implemented, over 210,000 Americans will die by 2026 as a direct result of them losing coverage. Like this new ACA study, it is based on the healthcare plan trailed by Massachusetts a decade ago – the plan that formed the basis of the ACA.
The ACA is not perfect. It was an attempt to improve a very complex beast of a healthcare system that is (rightly) criticized for its inefficiency and inbuilt inequality. Premiums for the middle class are certainly too high. None of this detracts from the fact that the ACA has achieved two rather remarkable things.
Firstly, the health coverage across the entire US population is around 90 percent, which is the highest it has ever been. The poor, and those with preexisting conditions are now guaranteed treatment – before, they were left to fend for themselves.
Secondly, as this study clearly shows, it is saving lives on a daily basis. It is an obvious fact that people without access to healthcare get sick and die, particularly if they are from a low-income background. The ACA was a major attempt to fix that.
The White House is doing all it can do distort this, of course. They recently released a massively misleading infographic that claimed 28.2 million people are still uninsured under Obamacare, and that the BCRA will save them from this nightmare.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) June 28, 2017
Funnily enough, before the ACA back in 2010, 48.6 million Americans were uninsured. So what the White House is saying is that the ACA’s ability to cut this number by 20 million in just seven years isn’t good enough. As pointed out by Vox, 22 million more people would lose coverage under the BCRA, so the GOP answer to the ACA is to make things a lot worse again.
The public was wary of the ACA at first, but now it’s being threatened with revocation, its approval rating has jumped up. Back in November 2016, its rating was 46 percent; as of April 2017, it’s 55 percent and rising. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, as they say.
This new study needs all the publicizing it can get, then. If Americans know that they are literally less likely to die of a heart attack under ACA than without it, we’d bet they’d be even more disapproving of the GOP’s plans than they already are.