The Affordable Care Act suffers from a condition that afflicts all controversial legislative achievements: its failures are closely scrutinized and widely covered, while its successes go largely unnoticed. This imbalance is understandable in some ways – “Law Functions As Planned” isn’t as exciting a story as “Law Flops In Embarrassing Faceplant.”

And so the media spotlight over the years has been aimed at the act’s hiccups and snafus: the crashing website, the conservative legal challenges, the endless repeal votes in Congress, the dire (usually unsubstantiated) warnings of skyrocketing premiums, etc. Meanwhile, the Affordable Care Act has been racking up some significant accomplishments.


For two years now, the Kaiser Family Foundation has been tracking a large group of California residents who were uninsured prior to the ACA’s first open enrollment period in 2013. As Kaiser’s initial report on their long-running survey explains, they chose California because it offers ideal conditions for testing the law’s efficacy: