ACA — good for moms and families? It depends

Is the Affordable Care Act good for moms and families?

Bottom Line Gal

Dear Bottom Line Gal,

It depends upon a lot of factors, whether the ACA is good for a particular mother and her children.  And it depends upon what you mean by “good”.

A mother whose job does not offer health insurance would benefit from getting subsidies to buy a plan on the exchange.  The subsidies could make the difference between being able to afford it and not.  Having health insurance is generally considered “good”.

Keep in mind that families earning less than 400% of Federal Poverty qualify for subsidies.  Families earning more than that do not get any help.

The subsidies come from government funds, which ultimately come out of everyone’s pocket.  So, a particular family might get a subsidy but it comes at a cost to other people.  The net effect is “good” or “bad” depending upon your perspective, and whether you are getting a subsidy or paying for someone else’s.

There are also experts who contend that ACA will make employers hire fewer people.  I think there are many other factors that go into a hire decision, including the cost of benefits.  I also believe that the cost of health insurance is influenced by many things, including the ACA. So, to the extent that the cost of health insurance is a factor AND the ACA makes health insurance more expensive, then you could say that the ACA hurts families.

In short, the ACA is good for some families (who get subsidized health insurance) and not so good for others (who are burdened with higher taxes to pay the subsidies).

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.