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HHS touts ACA benefits as incoming Trump administration mulls changes to law


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HHS touts ACA benefits as incoming Trump administration mulls changes to law

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services touted the benefits of the Affordable Care Act in a recently released report, saying the law has reduced the uninsured rate to "the lowest level on record." About 20 million people have gained health coverage because of the law, the HHS said.

President-elect Donald Trump called the ACA "a disaster" during the presidential campaign and pledged to repeal and replace it, but later said he is considering keeping parts of the ACA in place, including the existing conditions clause and insurance coverage for young adults on their parents' policies.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell warned of negative consequences if the law is dismantled.

"Millions of Americans with all types of coverage have a stake in the future of health reform, and it's time to build on the progress we've made, not move our system backward," Burwell said in a statement.

The department said more than 150 million obtain coverage through employer-sponsored health plans. More than 70 million people are now covered by Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, with about 15.7 million more people gaining Medicaid coverage as a result of Medicaid expansion. Hospital uncompensated care costs fell by about $7.4 billion after the ACA's major coverage provisions took effect, according to the department.

The number of people with individual market coverage has exceeded 10 million due to the ACA. The department claims that the law prevented discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions. The department estimates that as many as 129 million people have a pre-existing health condition. Approximately 9 million moderate- and middle-income people receive tax credits averaging $300 per month due to the enactment of the ACA.

About 55 million people are currently enrolled for Medicare coverage. The ACA extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by more than a decade, and Medicare enrollees have benefited through lower prescription drug costs, free preventive services and more coordinated care, the department said.