Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) completed its second enrollment period in February 2015, millions of Americans have attained affordable health insurance, better overall health, and their very own personal physician, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study found that prior to the ACA, health care was becoming more costly and less available to the average American, quickly leading them in a downward spiral toward poor health. More than 507,000 adults participated in the study, which began during the ACA’s first open enrollment period in October 2013. Since then, 16 million more adults have gained access to health coverage, and the number of uninsured has dropped by almost eight percent. More Americans have also described themselves as being in excellent, very good, or good health, as opposed to fair or poor health.

“There are no surprises here, because there’s no question the ACA has enabled extraordinary progress with respect to improving coverage and access to health care,” Ron Pollack, founding executive director of Families USA, a health care consumer advocacy group, told HealthDay. “It’s pretty clear that one out of three people who were previously uninsured have gained health care coverage.”

The reasons people are satisfied with the ACA, otherwise known as Obamacare, include three factors that stem from the law. The first is that children under the age of 26 are able to stay under their parents' insurance — they were previously eligible for exclusion after age 19. The second is it led to the expansion of Medicaid in 30 states. And third, it led to the opening of state-level health insurance marketplaces, which also allowed people with pre-existing conditions to enroll.

For the study, researchers analyzed results from the 2012 to 2015 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, with specific focus on health care coverage for adults aged 18 to 64 in the U.S. They compared trends prior to the ACA’s implementation and afterward. Those who benefited the most, according to the study, were minority groups; hereas 12 percent of Hispanics and nearly 11 percent of blacks were no longer insured following the ACA, only six percent of whites became uninsured.

While news outlets are reporting projected upticks in cost both for the federal government and individuals in the future, right now, the hard facts indicate that those who were in need of health insurance the most have been able to gain access by the millions. “Among the millions of people who have gained coverage through the new marketplaces,” Pollack said, “almost nine out of 10 of those are receiving subsidies that make coverage affordable for the first time.”

Source: Sommers B, Gunja M, Finegold K, et al. Changes in Self-Reported Insurance Coverage, Access to Care, and Health Under the Affordable Care Act. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 2015.