The Affordable Care Act Turns 10: How the ACA has worked for Arkansas

From shoring up rural hospitals to providing health insurance to unemployed Arkansans during a pandemic, the first decade of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has changed our state’s health care system for the better.

Our new policy brief outlines the myriad ways the ACA has improved health care for individuals, hospitals and the overall state economy.

In August 2010, widespread protests lamented the harm the ACA might cause. But 10 years later, the benefits have been indisputable in Arkansas.

  • Our drop in uninsured rate was third-best nationally
  • Only one rural hospital in Arkansas has closed since 2014, compared to more than 50 in neighboring states without Medicaid expansion under the ACA
  • More children in Arkansas have received more health care coverage
  • Individuals and families who have lost coverage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have been able to access coverage through Medicaid

Even so, the state of Arkansas and the federal government are fighting to throw away those gains. While Arkansas has unquestionably benefited from the ACA and Arkansas’s Medicaid expansion, many state leaders seem to still believe the decade-old, wrong assumptions that the ACA would be bad for our state.

The public health crisis caused by the COVID-10 pandemic, paired with the resulting economic downturn, has served to highlight the critical importance of the ACA in helping keep Arkansans, especially those with low incomes, healthy. In Arkansas, the Medicaid budget must be approved each year by three quarters of the state legislature. It is imperative that Arkansas continue to fully fund and protect the state’s Medicaid budget.

Download the issue brief below for a full look at the ACA’s enormous benefit to Arkansas.