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What do people mean when they say universal access or universal coverage?

This may sound like a small semantic difference, but the distinction is a big one. The ACA has a goal of covering everyone with health insurance. And while it hasn’t achieved that goal, the years since the law passed have coincided with a major drop in the ranks of the uninsured. Under the law, about 20 million people have gained coverage, according to the best estimates, leaving about 9 percent, or 27 million people, still uncovered.

In contrast, many Republicans say they have a goal of “universal access.” That would mean that everyone would be offered a chance to buy some form of insurance, but not necessarily that everyone will get it.

The Obamacare debate: Defining key terms

Understanding health-care lingo can be challenging enough. But when you add political spin, you have a recipe for mass confusion, if not migraines. Here is a glossary of basic terms to help decode the debate.

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