A record number of Americans have their health insurance through “Obamacare.” As of early 2021, nearly 31 million people were receiving healthcare benefits as part of the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by former president Barack Obama.
The White House announced the numbers in a report on Saturday and released a video featuring a conversation between President Joe Biden and Obama to celebrate the news and encourage more Americans to sign up. Expanded enrollment through the federal marketplace continues until August 15, due to the ongoing pandemic.
“We did this together,” Obama told Biden. “We always talked about how, if we could get the principle of universal coverage established, we could then build on it.”
According to the report, 11.3 million of the enrollments are people who purchased subsidized private insurance through the government’s marketplace. Expanded Medicaid in 37 states and D.C. accounts for another 14.8 million, and an additional one million are covered under the ACA’s “basic” health plan option. The White House is also counting four million previously eligible adults who gained coverage under recent Medicaid expansions and outreach.
“As we rebuild from the health and economic impacts of the pandemic and work to address the disparities it has illuminated, we’ll protect and build on the ACA to ensure Americans can access the care they need,” Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement accompanying the report.
Enacted in 2010, the ACA was the largest expansion of health care coverage in the U.S. since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
“The effort was worth it. The families that have been able to care for their loved ones, be cured, have access to care, that all makes it worthwhile,” Obama said.
But the ACA now faces the threat of a looming Supreme Court ruling on its constitutionality. The ACA survived an earlier challenge, but with more Trump-appointed judges now on the bench, its fate is less certain.