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Obama Administration: 71 million Americans became eligible for free preventive care in 2011 and 2012

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Patricia Nazario/KPCC

An exam room in the Charles Drew Urgent Care Clinic in South Los Angeles. The Obama Administration announced Monday that 71 million Americans received free preventive care in 2011 and 2012 thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

The Obama Administration is touting new data that shows an additional 71 million privately-insured Americans became eligible for at least one free preventive care service in 2011 and 2012 due to the Affordable Care Act.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (OASPE), which is within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, said in a report that those services include procedures like colonoscopies, Pap smears, mammograms, well-child visits and flu shots.

Health care reform provisions mandated that patients with private insurance had access to those services without cost-sharing or having to pay a co-pay.

In California, more than 8 million people, including 2.1 million children, became eligible for expanded care.

OASPE cited a Kaiser Permanente survey which indicated last year that more than four in 10 employees in the U.S. were covered by employer-backed insurance that expanded its list of covered preventive services.

Additional data shows that nationwide, nearly 27 million women saw their preventive coverage expand, compared to about 26 million men and more than 18 million children.

Further analysis showed that 8.2 million Latinos, 7.3 million black people, 3.8 million Asian people, and nearly 58 million white people became eligible for expanded care under the Affordable Care Act. The same was true for around 500,000 Native Americans.

In a teleconference, Director of the Office of Health Reform Michael Hash said when taken together with the 34 million who are enrolled in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, "this means that an estimated 105 million Americans have been helped by the Affordable Care Act's improved preventive coverage requirements."

This week marks the third anniversary of Affordable Care Act's being signed into law.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story indicated 71 million Americans took advantage of free preventive care extended to them over 2011 and 2012. HHS has said it can only confirm that 71 million Americans became eligible for free preventive care over those two years.

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