What components of the ACA do you think will have a positive effect on improving health care outcomes and decreasing costs? 

Submission Instructions:

  • Your initial post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources. Your initial post is worth 8 points.
  • You should respond to at least two of your peers by extending, refuting/correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts. Your reply posts are worth 2 points (1 point per response.) 
  • All replies must be constructive and use literature where possible.
  • Please post your initial response by 11:59 PM ET Thursday, and comment on the posts of two classmates by 11:59 PM ET Sunday.
  • You can expect feedback from the instructor within 48 to 72 hours from the Sunday due date. 

components of the ACA

Positive Effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Healthcare Outcomes and Costs

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law in 2010, is one of the most significant reforms in the United States healthcare system in recent history. While controversial, it has several components that aim to improve healthcare outcomes and decrease costs. This discussion will focus on key provisions of the ACA and their potential positive impacts.

  1. Expansion of Medicaid: One of the primary objectives of the ACA was to expand Medicaid coverage to individuals with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. Research has consistently shown that Medicaid expansion is associated with increased access to care, improved health outcomes, and reduced financial strain on low-income individuals. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Medicaid expansion was associated with a significant decrease in mortality rates among adults aged 55 to 64. By providing coverage to previously uninsured individuals, Medicaid expansion can prevent avoidable hospitalizations and emergency room visits, leading to cost savings for both individuals and the healthcare system.
  2. Subsidies for Health Insurance Marketplace: The ACA established Health Insurance Marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can shop for and purchase health insurance plans. The law provides subsidies to low- and middle-income individuals to make insurance more affordable. By increasing insurance coverage and making it more accessible, the ACA aims to reduce the number of uninsured individuals and promote preventive care and early intervention. Access to affordable insurance can lead to better management of chronic conditions, lower rates of untreated illnesses, and ultimately improved health outcomes. Additionally, increased competition among insurers in the Marketplace can help drive down premiums, benefiting consumers and reducing overall healthcare costs.
  3. Preventive Care and Wellness Programs: The ACA includes provisions to promote preventive care and wellness initiatives, such as coverage of preventive services without cost-sharing and incentives for employers to implement workplace wellness programs. By emphasizing prevention and early detection of diseases, the ACA aims to reduce the burden of chronic conditions and prevent costly complications. Preventive measures such as vaccinations, screenings, and counseling can lead to healthier populations and lower healthcare expenditures in the long term by avoiding the need for expensive treatments for advanced illnesses.
  4. Value-Based Payment Reforms: The ACA introduced various payment reforms aimed at incentivizing quality of care over quantity of services. These include accountable care organizations (ACOs), bundled payments, and penalties for hospital readmissions. By shifting towards value-based payment models, providers are encouraged to deliver more efficient, coordinated, and patient-centered care. Research suggests that these payment reforms have the potential to improve care coordination, reduce unnecessary utilization of services, and enhance patient outcomes while lowering costs. For example, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that hospitals participating in ACOs had lower spending growth compared to non-participating hospitals.

In conclusion, the ACA includes several provisions that have the potential to positively impact healthcare outcomes and decrease costs. By expanding coverage, promoting preventive care, and implementing value-based payment reforms, the ACA aims to create a more equitable, efficient, and sustainable healthcare system. While challenges remain, particularly regarding affordability and access to care, the ACA represents a significant step towards achieving these goals and improving the overall health of the population.


  1. Sommers, B. D., Baicker, K., & Epstein, A. M. (2012). Mortality and access to care among adults after state Medicaid expansions. New England Journal of Medicine, 367(11), 1025-1034.
  2. McWilliams, J. M., Landon, B. E., Chernew, M. E., & Zaslavsky, A. M. (2013). Changes in patients’ experiences in Medicare accountable care organizations. New England Journal of Medicine, 368(16), 1263-1266.

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