Saturday, January 31, 2015

Obamacare Is Working (In Case You Were Wondering)

Since the media spent the last week exhaustively covering deflated footballs and blown weather forecasts, you will be excused if you missed yet more good news regarding the Affordable Care Act. You remember "Obamacare," right? The policy that was hatched in the left wing corridors of The Heritage Foundation, implemented in Massachusetts by a Republican who would be his party's standard bearer for President in 2012 and has been a massive financial windfall to the health insurance industry. Yeah, that.

In just the past few weeks, the following has happened:

  • Governors in deep red states like Wyoming, Tennessee, and Indiana have all accepted that dirty, filthy guv'mint money to expand Medicaid in their states;
  • More than 9.5 million people have signed up for private health insurance through the various state and federal health exchanges during this enrollment season;
  • Contrary to conventional wisdom, the so-called "invisibles," those young people who were perceived to be the hardest to convince to buy more comprehensive coverage and most likely to opt for cheap catastrophic plans, have not done so. Only 1% of these young people are opting for the bare bones option, confirming that if affordable health coverage (and nearly 90% of Americans purchasing insurance under the ACA are eligible for subsidies) is available, people will purchase it;
  • The Congressional Budget Office's 10-year estimate for the cost of the ACA has gone down 20% since its initial analysis in 2010;
  • The cost of insurance is rising at the lowest level since that information started to be tracked in the early 1960s; and
  • In states with governors who were lockstep against the ACA, the people are voting with their wallets - in Florida, more than 1.2 million people have signed up for private coverage and a county in Florida holds the distinction as having signed up the most people in the United States; North Carolina is 6% above the national average for number of eligible adults who have gained coverage under the ACA; and both Georgia and Kentucky have seen above average enrollment numbers. 

Of course, the New York Times thought this news significant enough to bury on page A17 on Thursday and you would search long and hard to find any discussion of these facts on your nightly news or one of the myriad cable TV political chat fests. And I can almost guarantee that Chuck Todd will not dedicate a segment of this Sunday's Meet the Press to these facts, even though he had the gall to demand an apology from the President because got off to a bumpy start. But just because the good news is obscured and the bad news is magnified does not take away from what Vice President Biden aptly described as a "big fucking deal." 

For more information on this topic check out:

Follow me on Twitter - @scarylawyerguy


  1. I agree that this country need to improve access of healthcare to all. My spouse was denied health insurance coverage two different times due to an existing medical condition. But here in Oregon when I lost my job, the enrollment got all screwed up. My coverage was given to someone else whose social security number is the same as mine except for one digit. When I got a new job and I informed our office that we're all covered under my employer's coverage, they did not end our coverage!! Now we got a 1095-A tax form. Finally we might get our coverage terminated as we had only used the coverage for one month (March). It seems the feds are a bit too sticky to let go of people's coverage when it comes to enrollment. Or is it just inflated enrollment numbers to make politicians look good? For that reason I am no longer a Democrat.

    1. Sorry to hear you had so much trouble with the system. Seems more likely that it was a side-effect of a large-scale, unfortunately (but perhaps necessarily) bureaucratic system that still needs to work out some kinks, rather than intentional design on the part of democrats to screw you over.

      Anyway, congrats on the job and I hope it goes well for you!

  2. @SLG

    Great post and thanks for reminding us of the good news! There's definitely a tendency towards blame, whether political or just organizational in general, demonstrated quite nicely by the other comment.

    Despite all you list, republican hopefuls are still insisting that if they get into office, they will shut it down. My question is, will all of these happily insured, young Americans vote to protect it? What do you think?