Other early federal debates led to the provision of health care to the armed forces, naming the public good and satisfaction of economic aims to support the government’s role. It was argued that a healthy army and navy were necessary for national defense. The patchwork of care for the U.S. military covers decisions relating to those who serve, have served, and their families [see http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/healthcare/a/medicalcare_4.htm for a summary]. Lost in the conversation about the uninsured and the Affordable Care Act is the data about our nation’s veterans. They comprise a very large group of the uninsured. Here is the estimate from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: http://www.rwjf.org/en/research-publications/find-rwjf-research/2013/03/uninsured-veterans-and-family-members.html — 1.3 million veterans plus their families [about another 1 million] have no access to health care.
How does the Affordable Care Act affect military families? An analysis that includes comparisons between Tricare and ACA requirements appears at: http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20130926/BENEFITS06/309260025/Affordable-Care-Act-No-impact-Tricare-some-coverage-isn-t-equal. It appears that the ACA will require more coverage than Tricare offers in various instances.
As for veterans and their families, if their income levels fall within Medicaid guidelines, they may receive care through an ACA Medicaid-expansion option. That depends upon their State’s buy-in, however, so it remains unclear whether this group of hundreds of thousands will find a path to care or not.