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Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Health, Law, Politics | 14 comments

Obamacare insures 9.5 million previously uninsured

Even though it had a hideous roll-out and became — and is — a bigtime political football, the Los Angeles Times reports that Obamacare has brought insurance to 9.5 Americans who hadn’t had any and has already set a record for the history books:

President Obama’s healthcare law, despite a rocky rollout and determined opposition from critics, already has spurred the largest expansion in health coverage in America in half a century, national surveys and enrollment data show.

As the law’s initial enrollment period closes, at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gained coverage. Some have done so through marketplaces created by the law, some through other private insurance and others through Medicaid, which has expanded under the law in about half the states.

The LAT’s got its figures “from a review of state and federal enrollment reports, surveys and interviews with insurance executives and government officials nationwide.” It notes the ACA still faces “major challenges,” such as premium hikes that could chase off those who’ve just signed up.

But the increased coverage so far amounts to substantial progress toward one of the law’s principal goals and is the most significant expansion since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

The millions of newly insured also create a politically important constituency that may complicate any future Republican repeal efforts.

Here are some of their stats:

• At least 6 million people have signed up for health coverage on the new marketplaces, about one-third of whom were previously uninsured.

• A February survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found 27% of new enrollees were previously uninsured, but newer survey data from the nonprofit Rand Corp. and reports from marketplace officials in several states suggest that share increased in March.

• At least 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have signed up for state Medicaid programs, according to Rand’s unpublished survey data, which were shared with The Times. That tracks with estimates from Avalere Health, a consulting firm that is closely following the law’s implementation.

• An additional 3 million young adults have gained coverage in recent years through a provision of the law that enables dependent children to remain on their parents’ health plans until they turn 26, according to national health insurance surveys from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• About 9 million people have bought health plans directly from insurers, instead of using the marketplaces, Rand found. The vast majority of these people were previously insured.

• Fewer than a million people who had health plans in 2013 are now uninsured because their plans were canceled for not meeting new standards set by the law, the Rand survey indicate.

But this is the political season (and its just revving up, folks). So GOPers will paint the program as failed (facts don’t matter in politics anymore) and all warts, and many Democrats will try to minimize the warts (facts don’t matter in politics anymore) and talk about the positives.

But from the LAT piece — which used stats (I can just predict websites that will say it’s just the mean ‘ol liberal media making numbers up) — strongly suggests the positives far outweigh the warts and that historians will be noting that in coming years.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obamacare-uninsured-national-20140331,0,5472960.story#ixzz2xXwuBuHz

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  • petew

    All the other variables such as those under 26 being included on their parents insurance, as well as those benefiting under expanded medicaid (which is part of the ACA law) seem solid and justifiable to include in the tally, to me. But I am sure that Republicans will continue to negate all of these figures. However, as Joe’s article points out, the addition of all these beneficiaries who will probably vote to keep the law in place will benefit Democrats in future elections. This last point represents success, and the best news that I, and many other Democrats, have had in quite a while!

  • SteveK

    So GOPers will paint the program as failed (facts don’t matter in politics anymore) and all warts, and many Democrats will try to minimize the warts (facts don’t matter in politics anymore) and talk about the positives.

    Like I’ve always said, They’re all the same.™Both sides do it.™Two peas in a pod.™ Then I walk away shaking my head.

  • Keep in mind that although today is the deadline for obtaining coverage through the exchanges there is no deadline for getting coverage for those who qualify for expanded Medicaid programs. In Michigan the program doesn’t even start until April 1.

    The final number for those obtaining coverage could still be well above this number.

    Numbers such as this are valuable, but also don’t include another key group (which cannot actually be counted): the number who would have lost their insurance at some point this year if not for the ACA.

  • rudi

    Hideous – The Iraq debacle was hideous, website and car model start-ups are ALWAYS full of bugs. people may actually live longer because of ObammamaCare. How many died or were displaced in Iraq. How many billions disappeared in Iraq?

  • dduck
  • JSpencer

    In Michigan the program doesn’t even start until April 1.

    If the sick elephant run legislature in Michigan had had their way, Medicaid would never have been expanded. Our republican governor prevailed upon them to do the right thing, which is probably the only right thing he’s done since he took office.

  • slamfu

    So how many more have to sign up before the USA disintegrates into a Socialist ruin, over run by Islamic fanatics and governed by Sharia law as Obama has always intended? Its hard to follow the numbers put out by the GOP on this one.

  • JSpencer

    Damned right!!! And where’s that birth certificate anyway???

  • petew

    dduck,

    I appreciate the video, and I also understand that many “thorny issues,” have yet to be addressed. It is also true that Dems may attempt to overly praise the positives in the bill, as well as Republicans constantly criticizing it. But as I said in a previous post above, since the Medicaid expansion was intended as part of the ACA, even though the SCOTUS weakened its effect, I think it is perfectly legitimate to count those qualifying under its expanded coverage as successes for the ACA.

    Personally I find it amazing that the Law has overcome so many challenges and still has definite promise. It may not be perfect but it certainly has a good chance for relieving many needy patients and giving increased security and dignity to many more lives. It was always a certainty that many of these people would apply for coverage for no other reason than that, they are desperately in need of health care. Of course, they are going to apply first and worry about obstacles later—they have to!

  • cjjack

    So, rounding up because there’s still probably some folks out there trying to get in at the 11th hour (what they call “walk up” in the concert biz), we’re looking at 10 million people who went from uninsured (or under insured) to insured.

    Imagine what could have been accomplished if the Democrats had been able to craft a more, shall we say, concise piece of legislation?

    Imagine what could have been accomplished if the White House had not more or less completely botched the roll-out of the website.

    Perhaps more importantly, imagine what could have been accomplished if the Republicans – all the way from Speaker Boehner down to the state legislators and governors – hadn’t treated the ACA as if it were equivalent to lighting a urine-soaked American flag on fire with a match made from the wood of the spear used to stab Jesus.

    I mean, we had a problem in this country in the last decade. 40 million Americans without health insurance. And despite our two political parties demonstrating that they’re in a race to see which of them can be the least competent and most obstructionist, we’ve somehow managed to get almost a quarter of the problem solved.

    I shudder to think what we could accomplish if we actually tried.

  • Perhaps more importantly, imagine what could have been accomplished if the Republicans – all the way from Speaker Boehner down to the state legislators and governors – hadn’t treated the ACA as if it were equivalent to lighting a urine-soaked American flag on fire with a match made from the wood of the spear used to stab Jesus.

    Perhaps the best paragraph ever logged here at TMV.

  • petew

    I also think that was a great paragraph, However, in the name of objectivity, the GOP is primarily responsible for the dysfunction and gridlock in Washington—Democrats are only obstructive in the sense that they have refused to yield to any, and all of the Tea Parties attempts to take the government hostage.

    Politicians like Ted Cruz and Norquist did the equivalent of firing a loaded gun—(threatening to shut down the government as well as block an established procedure to cover the nations debts)and then, because Obama refused to get out of the way, they blamed him for all of the deaths or/or injuries caused by the mob tactics they attempted to use—only to gain nothing but complete control! This can only be construed as the actions of blackmailers or the power hungry tactics of an autocratic ruler!

    Sorry I must say so, but if one honestly examines what Republicans have done in the past year, I believe one can see no other sufficient alternative or explanations, for their blatant terrorist tactics.

  • Can’t let the old false equivalence comment pass. Congressional scholars Norm Ornstein (AEI) and Thomas Mann (Brookings) debunk it thoroughly in the Washington Post.

    We have been studying Washington politics and Congress for more than 40 years, and never have we seen them this dysfunctional. In our past writings, we have criticized both parties when we believed it was warranted. Today, however, we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the Republican Party.

    The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

    When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.

    “Both sides do it” or “There is plenty of blame to go around” are the traditional refuges for an American news media intent on proving its lack of bias, while political scientists prefer generality and neutrality when discussing partisan polarization. Many self-styled bipartisan groups, in their search for common ground, propose solutions that move both sides to the center, a strategy that is simply untenable when one side is so far out of reach.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/lets-just-say-it-the-republicans-are-the-problem/2012/04/27/gIQAxCVUlT_story.html

  • No doubt that by far the most obstruction came from the Republicans.

    If you want to place any blame on Democrats for limitations in the ACA, then the blame would go to Joe Lieberman (technically an independent voting with the Democrats at the time) and Ben Nelson. The two of them opposed measures such as the public option and Medicare buy in and in order to get to 60 votes the Democrats had to drop anything those two opposed.

    We could also have had a better law if not for losing Kennedy’s seat, requiring them to go with the already passed Senate bill as opposed to a bill coming out of a normal conference committee which would have considered the House bill.

    It also shows a problem with Senate Republicans and the system when having 58 out of 100 Senators isn’t enough to pass something, especially when the Senate Democrats represented far more voters than the Republicans considering both numbers and how far more Republicans are from low population states.

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