April 23, 2024 3:58 PM

Affordable Care Act celebrates 14th anniversary following jump in enrollment, continuing political discord – Cronkite News

Photo: Arizona Sen. Lela Alston, D-Phoenix, speaks at a news conference celebrating the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act at the Valle del Sol Community Health Center in central Phoenix on March 26, 2024. (Photo by Crystal Aguilar/Cronkite News)

On Tuesday morning, health care advocates and others gathered at the Valle del Sol Community Health Center in central Phoenix to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act is a comprehensive health care reform law enacted in March 2010 and is sometimes known as ACA or “Obamacare.” During the 2024 open enrollment period, a record 21.3 million people across the country selected an ACA Health Insurance Marketplace plan. The number of Arizonans covered by the ACA rose more than 110,000 during the year, to 348,055, also a record.

Despite its increasing adoption, the ACA continues to be a controversial topic in the political arena.

Arizona Sen. Lela Alston, D-Phoenix, is a cancer survivor who has personal concerns regarding the ACA and where it stands on the political agenda.

“I’m in active treatment for lung cancer and I have been for several years,” Alston said. “I know that without insurance, I would not have been able to afford the treatment that literally has kept me alive.”

Alston found out last week she is cancer free but said the treatment continues.

“I want my constituents here at LD5 (Legislative District 5) and throughout the state of Arizona to have the same quality care that I enjoy, and the same life-saving measures that are available when people can afford health insurance,” she said.

The White House said in February 2023 that “virtually every Republican budget or fiscal plan over the last decade has included repeal of the Affordable Care Act.”

U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Tucson, is a member of the Republican Study Committee, which recently called to repeal the ACA. In an article from the Tucson Sentinel, Ciscomani declined to say whether he supported the repeal of the ACA.

“With any large coalition in Washington, there are a wide array of, and sometimes conflicting, points of view,” Ciscomani told the news outlet via email. “The Republican Study Committee produces a number of common sense provisions however I do not subscribe to every proposal they put out. What best reflects my perspectives are the votes I take, bills I introduced, and legislation I cosponsor.”

Dr. Mario Islas, chief medical officer for Valle del Sol, said the ACA is one of the most “powerful and effective pieces of legislation.” He called it an integral part in helping make health centers and their communities healthier.

“A healthy community is a strong community,” Islas said.

Laura Packard is executive director of Health Care Voter, a health care advocacy organization, and is a stage-4 cancer survivor. She utilized the ACA during treatment and said the program saved her life.

“It’s important that we have elected officials that vote for our health care instead of against it,” Packard said.

Cronkite News reporter Ian McKinney contributed to this story.


One Response

  1. And we can thank Senator John McCain for the existence of a federal mandated medical plan. Notice the ads on TV with a .gov to seek more information. Private doctors are almost all out of business by lawyers and government acts . Now most all doctors are employees of companies such as “Dignity Health Care”. Imagine how much is siphoned off for management, advertising and staff.

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