Policy analyst: Many low-income Americans don't realize ACA gave them Medicaid coverage

Many Americans who obtained health insurance through Medicaid expansion are unaware that their coverage stems from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), policy analyst Elaine Kamarck told Hill.TV on Friday.

“Very low-income people have Medicaid. Medicaid was there before the ACA. Now one of the things ACA did was to expand the Medicaid, but if you’ve signed up for that, you don’t realize that I’m now eligible for this, and 10 years ago I wasn’t eligible,” Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said on “What America’s Thinking.”

Hill-HarrisX poll published Thursday found that 29 percent of registered voters with annual household incomes below $35,000 said the ACA, also known as ObamaCare, has made their personal health care situation worse, while 27 percent said it has made no difference.

The 2010 law has come under renewed attack by President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE in recent weeks. In late March the Justice Department sided with a court ruling to invalidate the law in its entirety. That case is now awaiting action by an appeals court.

“Let me just say that one of the odd things of the ObamaCare is the attention it has just gotten," Kamarck said. "Frankly, it was a piece of legislation geared toward a very small segment of the American public: People who are too rich to be on Medicaid and people who are too poor to afford commercial health care without some assistance from the premiums."

“It is interesting to think that we have had how many years of bitter partisan fights over what is in reality a very targeted and very narrow program,” she added.

—Philip Wang