A new survey by Gallup finds that 15.5 percent of U.S. adultsreport having had trouble covering their health care costs inthe past 12 months, the lowest rate since Gallup began tracking theissue in 2008.

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The percentage reporting trouble with health costs began todecline in 2013 and has continued its downward trendsince.

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While there are a number of factors that influence one’s abilityto pay for health care, including general economic conditions,there is a good chance that the Patient Protection and Affordable CareAct (ACA), implemented at the beginning of 2014,has boosted the number of people who can afford healthcare.

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That’s not to say there haven’t been plenty of affordabilityconcerns raised by the ACA. Many have found the health plansoffered through Healthcare.gov to be cost-prohibitive, andpremium increases anticipated for nextyear are bound to put even more consumers in apinch.

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But the ACA has also provided low-cost coverage options to manyAmericans near the bottom on the income ladder, notably through amajor expansion of Medicaid. As a result, many who were previouslyineligible for Medicaid now have access to free or very inexpensivecare.

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While the plans offered through the ACA exchange aren’t cheap,the subsidies available to most customers who purchase such plansmake them far less expensive than what was available to them beforeObamacare.

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“Repealing the Affordable Care Act could easily halt or reversethe positive trends in health care access, which would certainlyaffect Americans' ability to pay for health care in the future,”concluded Gallup.

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