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Friday, October 21, 2016

While the right’s been busy denouncing the Affordable Care Act, the health care law has been working and benefiting millions of Americans. According to the Commonwealth Fund’s new tracking survey, the number of uninsured adults decreased from 20 percent in July-September 2013 to 15 percent in April-June 2014, which means that 9.5 million more people became insured during that period.

The survey states that the law is on track to meet the Congressional Budget Office’s projections.

The Affordable Care Act has especially helped young adults. The rate of uninsured people aged 19-34 dropped from 28 percent in July-September 2013 to 18 percent, which is the largest success rate for any age group—5.7 million fewer young adults are now without health insurance.

The percentage of uninsured Latinos also dropped significantly, from 36 percent to 23 percent. Latinos are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to not have health insurance, but they increased their coverage at a better rate than any other group.

African-Americans are the only group whose coverage barely improved; those without health insurance only decreased by 1 percent, from 21 percent to 20 percent. Bloomberg View’s Christopher Flavelle points out that this lack in coverage isn’t down to misinformation about the marketplace, but that 62 percent of black respondents live in states with Republican governors who have rejected federal money to expand Medicaid. In states that didn’t expand Medicaid, 36 percent are still uninsured, a number that only declined by 2 percent from last year. For the law to actually work for everyone, more minorities will need to be able to sign up.

The Affordable Care Act is also helping the poor. The report says that insurance plans “targeted at low- and moderate-income Americans are having their intended effect.” The percentage of uninsured with incomes under 138 percent of the poverty level dropped from 35 percent to 24 percent, while the uninsured rate declined from 32 percent to 22 percent for adults who earn between 138 percent and 250 percent of poverty.

The survey also finds that 68 percent of adults eligible for new health coverage are aware that the marketplace exists, and that 43 percent of those people have visited one, compared to only 24 percent who did in December; 51 percent who visited the website signed up for a plan, and 62 percent would not have been able to afford health care without the Affordable Care Act—60 percent have already filled a prescription or visited a health care provider.

Of the newly insured, 78 percent said they were “very or somewhat satisfied” with their new plans, though only 54 percent said that their plans included all or some of the doctors they wanted; 81 percent said they were “very or somewhat optimistic” that Obamacare will make it easier for them to get the health care they need, and 58 percent said they were better off than before. Even 74 percent of previously uninsured Republicans are satisfied with their plans.

These positive numbers should make it harder for the right to argue that the law is hurting Americans. However, the Obama administration still needs to work on improving public opinion of the law, especially as it gets closer to the midterms. The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows that 51 percent of Americans still oppose the individual mandate.

The Commonwealth Fund surveyed 4,425 people and was conducted from April 9-June 2.

AFP Photo/Karen Bleier

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  • Independent1

    An article in the DailyKos actually provides more encouraging numbers than the article above. The article is about a red state that expanded Medicaid -Arizona. Because Arizona agreed to expand Medicaid, the hospitals there are seeing a sizeable decline in the amount of “uncompensated care” – a decline of 31%. Which is not only improving the bottom line of many hospitals but because Medicaid is now covering medical care that many would otherwise have to pay for out of pocket, it’s giving those now covered by Medicaid more money to spend which is injecting more money into the Arizona economy. In other words, the Obamcare Medicaid expansion option is a win, win for the hospitals, for the Arizona citizens and for the State of Arizona.

    See these excerpts from the DailyKos article:

    Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to harangue her Republican legislature to accept Medicaid expansion is paying off for the whole state of Arizona, but especially its hospitals. A new report from the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association says that uncompensated care has been reduced 31 percent in the last four months compared to the same period last year.

    The Arizona hospital report shows the average operating margin of Arizona hospitals has gone up from 4 percent in 2013 to the current rate of 5.2 percent — a signal to some health experts that the Affordable Care Act will be a net positive for hospitals’ bottom lines. Nearly one in every four residents in Arizona is now covered by Medicaid, which in Arizona is known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).

    That’s money that the state doesn’t have to try to come up with to reimburse hospitals to help keep them afloat. The business school at Arizona State University estimated that the expansion would bring more than 15,000 jobs to the state by 2016, increase state revenues by over $2.8 billion in the next three years and increase personal disposable income by more than $1.6 billion. The decline in uncompensated care is just a drop in the bucket for what Medicaid expansion is likely to do for Arizona (long term).

    For those interested in the entire article, here’s the link:

    • charleo1

      Great post, as usual. I’m aware I’m getting a bit boring with my praise. My problem is, I’ve ran thru my thesaurus’s superlatives
      describing your spot on comments! I’ll work on that. You keep
      posting please!

      • Independent1

        That’s for the positive feedback. I enjoy doing research on issues that I think may mean something to those who post on the NM.

        • Dominick Vila

          An ancillary benefit that is seldom brought up is the fact that thousands of Americans in the 50-64 age bracket are now able to retire without worrying about exorbitant health insurance premiums before they are eligible for MEDICARE. In addition to helping folks pursue their personal goals, the departure of well paid employees creates a vacuum that forces employers to promote younger employees, hire workers, and benefit from the formal education and familiarity with the latest technologies and concepts taught in colleges nationwide. All in all, this is a win-win for our economy and our efforts to bring unemployment to the 5.5% range (structural unemployment).

  • gmccpa

    We could glean that its working…as the Repub shrieking has subsided. Same with the shrinking deficit. Question is…where are the Democrats? No offense to National Memo..but after all the crap that was spewed, this should be headline news.

  • Independent1

    Wow! Even Republicans are liking Obamacare. Here are some excerpts from an article in ThinkProgress which reports on a study which shows that people are liking their ACA plans:

    Conservative groups have invested millions of dollars in opposing the Affordable Care Act, but they appear to have had little success in turning Americans against the law. In fact, according to a new poll from the Commonwealth Fund, individuals and families who enroll in Obamacare — including the overwhelming majority of Republicans — are satisfied with the product:

    Overall, 73 percent of people who bought health plans and 87 percent of those who signed up for Medicaid said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their new health insurance. Seventy-four percent of newly insured Republicans liked their plans. Even 77 percent of people who had insurance before — including members of the much-publicized group whose plans got canceled last year — were happy with their new coverage.

    For those who’d like to read the entire ThinkProgress article, here’s the link:–emailfield..syntax–recipientid~~&elqCampaignId=~~eloqua..type–campaign..campaignid–0..fieldname–id~~

  • Patricia Robertson

    For some reason dems always have a hard time bringing up the ACA no matter how good it is working or finding people that is is working for. They always want the president to do. Then when the republicans beat them up on they feel stupid like little children. The president must feel like at times he is fight a losing battle with both group of people. The republicans can’t get the president to give in but they know they threaten and scare the dems, and they are right. When the dems get the a back bone they might when some battle and some sits.

    • highpckts

      They definitely need to stiffen their spine and soon!!

  • ExRadioGuy15

    Those of us who possess intelligence and sanity (ie, no Republicans) knew that the law would work.
    We’re now in a situation where the last talking point, which was actually the first one to be debunked, “death panels”, has now become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As I started writing/talking about last year, the Red state Governors/Legislatures who refuse to accept the fully-funded Medicaid expansion have now become those “death panels” they railed against years ago. As I said/wrote last year and have seen/heard earlier this year from others , people will surely die because of the GOP’s psychopathic refusal to do the correct thing, expand Medicaid.
    This Non-Affiliated voter suggests to the Democratic Party that they use this against the Red state politicians. We’ve already seen that several Red state hospitals have been closed or will be closed due to the refusal to expand Medicaid 🙁 ssmdh

  • howa4x

    This is why republicans ought so hard to stop implementation of the law because they knew it would work all along. States that refused to start exchanges are seeing their populations sign up on federal sites, and states that refused the Medicaid expansion are seeing a rash of hospital closures. Interesting that the good Christian states would rather see people die form lack of access to care than to give Obama a win. Shows you the shallowness of religion in this country. Evangelicals are only concerned about pre marital sex rather than saving the lives of other Christians.

  • rustacus21

    … b/c what else did people expect? This is what the nation gets for listening to conservatives ‘speculating’ on things they have no understanding or intelligence about!!! I’ll say again, why are we listening to Republican conservatives when they history of both failure & stupidity have broken, corrupted & is very nearly close to destroying Democracy in America. What President Obama has done, while he won’t admit it, is the quality LIBERAL/PROGRESSIVE policy initiative that the people ALWAYS want, expect & DESERVE! What was the LAST GOOD THING a Republican conservative policy did for 100% of the AMERICAN PEOPLE?!?! Think about that in preparation (voter & Democratic/Independent legislators/candidates) for this years election. Hint: it’s a no-brainer – NOTHING!!! Remind the American PEOPLE of that & it’s a cake walk! This is too ezy, I should be in politics MYSELF!!!

  • Six Edits

    Hussein Obama is a lunatic.