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Affordable Care Act supporters celebrate 5th anniversary
A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services reports that 16.4 million Americans have gained insurance coverage in the wake of the ACA's implementation. - photo by Kelsey Dallas
The Affordable Care Act will turn five on Monday, March 23, and many supporters began birthday celebrations early this week with the release of new data illustrating the law's positive impact.

Drawing on research from Gallup, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that around 16.4 million people have gained health insurance coverage after many of the ACA's coverage provisions took effect.

"When it comes to the key metrics of affordability, access and quality, the evidence shows that the Affordable Care Act is working, and families, businesses and taxpayers are better off as a result," said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.

The research found a 35 percent reduction in the American uninsured rate. At the beginning of March, an estimated 13.2 percent of adults remained uninsured, down from 20.3 percent in 2013.

However, the Journal's coverage noted that many ACA detractors were unhappy with the way the data was presented. These commentators noted that the Department of Health and Human Service's report extrapolates from Gallup data, rather than directly surveying on the impact of the ACA.

"It's premature to say (the new uninsured rate) is ACA-related," Edmund Haislmaier, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told the Journal. He said the administration was unclear about how people who signed up for health insurance through the ACA marketplace could have received it elsewhere.

Haislmaier and his Heritage Foundation colleagues write regular posts on the organization's website about the ACA's flaws, describing its complicated design for subsidies and tax credits and costly benefit mandates.

In January, Haislmaier told Deseret News National that the public image of the ACA will take a hit during tax season, as people struggle to navigate a difficult reconciliation process.

Headlines about that process, as well as ongoing coverage of the law's latest Supreme Court battle, will likely damper this week's celebrations, but ACA supporters say they won't let negative attitudes detract from the good news.

"We've seen tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars being spent by the president's political opponents to distort the facts about the true impact of the Affordable Care Act, (but) we're very pleased about the impact that this has had in expanding coverage for more Americans," said White House Press Secretary John Earnest at his Monday press conference, according to The New York Times.