What is the 'Affordable Care Act'

The Affordable Care Act is a federal statute signed into law in March, 2010 as a part of the healthcare reform agenda of the Obama administration. Signed under the title of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the law included multiple provisions that would take effect over a matter of years, including the expansion of Medicaid eligibility, the establishment of health insurance exchanges and prohibiting health insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

BREAKING DOWN 'Affordable Care Act'

At the time of its enactment, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the new law would reduce the federal deficit by nearly $145 billion in the first 10 years and between 0.25% and 0.5% of GDP thereafter. The costs associated with the new amendments are offset by numerous taxes, such as increased taxes on items and services such as eye glasses, hearing aids and indoor tanning. Government data suggests that over 20 million Americans benefited from insurance coverage under this law as of March 2016.

On January 20, 2017, in his first executive order after taking office, President Donald Trump signaled his intention to de-fund the Affordable Care Act saying executive agency heads should "delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State." The intention of this order is to signal the first phase of Republican efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. Rolling back the law was one of Trump's central campaign promises aimed at reducing the fiscal burden on the government.

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