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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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Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.