Measuring the Impact that Repealing the Affordable Care Act Will Have on Veterans’ Insurance Coverage and Use of Health Care
March 21, 2017
Outside New York State
Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) did not directly affect veterans’ eligibility to enroll in or receive care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), it may have led some uninsured veterans to choose to enroll in VA health care to obtain qualifying coverage and avoid individual mandate penalties.
Other uninsured low-income veterans (including some who were previously enrolled to receive VA health care or expected to use VA health care in the future) may have qualified for subsidies to purchase coverage through insurance marketplaces or lived in states that opted to expand Medicaid. These individuals may have transitioned out of the VA health care system and into the community setting to receive some or all of their care. Given the new administration’s strong interest in repealing the ACA, it is imperative to understand the impact that ACA repeal will have on veterans and the VA health care system. In 2017, NYSHealth awarded RAND Corporation a grant to conduct a study on how veterans and the VA will be impacted directly by repeal of the ACA.
Under this grant, RAND provided nationwide estimates for the effect of the ACA coverage expansion on veterans’ insurance coverage, use of VA health care, and out-of-pocket health care costs. The study also estimated the impact of ACA repeal on veterans’ uninsurance rates, the VA health system, and federal spending on veterans’ health care. In addition, state-specific coverage estimates were produced for New York and other large states. Results were summarized in a publicly available report and distributed widely to Congress, VA leadership, and other national and state policymakers concerned with veterans’ health care. In addition to the full report, a research brief aimed at lay audiences was produced and widely disseminated to the media and other stakeholders. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a co-funder of this grant.