Obamacare is Working

While data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today is a good news, not-so-good news situation, according to analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Obamacare contributed to the largest decline in the number of uninsured Americans since 1999.

The main positive news in today’s report is the fall in the share of Americans who are uninsured, from 16.3 percent in 2010 to 15.7 percent in 2011, the largest annual improvement since 1999. That improvement was driven in part by gains in coverage among young adults, which appear largely due to a provision of the health reform law allowing them to remain on their parent’s health plan until they reach age 26. Forty percent of the decline in the number of uninsured people came among individuals aged 19-25. Some 539,000 fewer 19-25-year-olds were uninsured in 2011 than in 2010.

Is it working fast enough? Maybe not, but after decades of promises to do something about the number of uninsured Americans, the Obama administration is actually making some headway.

Poverty also remained flat in 2011 after rising the previous three years in a row according to the report.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    The ACA won’t seriously cut into the number of uninsured until the exchanges go online. It’s a shame that it will have taken four years; enough time for the GOP to demagogue the law out of existence, if they get their way, so the public will never know what they could have had.

    Republicans know perfectly well that once Americans have universal, or even quasi-universal, medical insurance they will love it, never want to give it up, and wonder how we ever did without it, and it won’t turn America into anything other than America-plus-universal-health-insurance.

    Off-topic a bit, I stumbled into a conversation with a wingnut last weekend and the topic of the ACA came up. I acknowledged that the ACA will not cover everyone, explained the difference between universal coverage and the ACA, talked about the free-rider problem, noted that you can’t eliminate medical risk by not paying for it, or prevent the uninsured from seeking medical help when they get sick or injured. “The only way to achieve universal coverage,” I said, “is universal coverage.”

    He seemed to be following, but then he asked, “Why do you need universal coverage?” I thought it was an interesting question. Clearly he didn’t think that universal health care is a worthy end in itself. I doubted he would accept that alleviating a lot of unnecessary and preventable human suffering was a reason. I did mention that, but I knew I’d have to explain what would be in it for him, so I also mentioned that society as a whole benefits from preventing disease and disability, providers benefit from knowing they will get paid, employers benefit from not having to pay for their employees’ coverage, etc. I think he got it, but he immediately shifted into, “Well, OK, but the best way to do it is just have the free market do it.” No, I said; the free market will inevitably exclude people from the system; since supply can never exceed demand, the free market has an incentive to price people out. He didn’t agree, and I said, “Let’s talk about something else.”

    • IrishGrrrl

      the free market has incentive to price people out. He didnt agree.

      Yep that’s the sticking point for them, step 1 free market, step 2 poof magic, step 3 universal coverage (or any other solution to societal ills). Heres the thing, in spite of being extremely logical (insurance companies want to reduce risk and make more profit so in a free market they will turn down anyone with poor health because there is no incentive without profit….) it is also a known fact that insurance companies will do this. One, they told us they would do it during negotiations that if the Pres. forced people with pre-existing on them, hence the individual mandate idea to mollify their greedy asses. Two, we have historical evidence of this happening. You might try that tack but don’t bet on getting it thru their thick skulls. Logic isn’t the problem here. It’s fear of change, of what they think they can’t control, of anything different, etc, etc. their lizard brains are in the way.

  • bphoon

    Of course, the GOP will claim that the ACA isn’t working because more than half a million 18-25 year-olds should be insured. And, of course, they’ll say more people are in poverty today than four years ago, or, alternatively, that Obama didn’t reduce poverty over last year–like they give a shit about people in poverty.