Let’s look at the Republican arguments about Obamacare:
1) Enough people aren’t signing up. That worked for awhile, but the incredible surge at the end has met the ORIGINAL projection of 7 million people. And it’s not over as people “in the queue” finish up their registration, it could be quite a bit higher.
2) It’s not dropping the uninsured rate. Except that a Rand Corp report says just the opposite. The rate of uninsured in the US has dropped from 20% down to 16% — and that study doesn’t have all the new data.
3) Not enough young people signing up. That was true over the course of the early sign-ups, but new data is busting this issue as well. As in the Massachusetts state model, the younger sign-ups are coming in at the end. In addition, a lot of off-site sign-ups have a lot more of the millenials involved. One site said that 51% of new enrollees were under 35.
4) Too many Medicaid enrollees. At first this was a critique of the ratio — Qualified Health Plans to Medicaid. However, the good news here is that a lot of the poor that were uninsured are now getting health care. The numbers in states that accepted the Medicaid expansion have been particularly impressive. The Red States that rejected the Expansion are now starting to hear from people who now realize they could have gotten insurance. Red state numbers have been estimated at 7.7 million that could have had Medicaid insurance. There are a lot of uninsured people involved here and although they are on a state plan, the Feds budgeted the money in the ACA to pay for this. So now these newly insured will not jack up premiums for everyone else by using the emergency room as their health plan.
5) But the premiums are not being paid. The data on this has always been a mystery. The government couldn’t seem to get a handle on the numbers. But Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finally put out a statement that indicated 80 to 90% HAVE paid the premiums. Another source put out an educated projection stating that 85% have paid and that a lot of the rest were just waiting for their first premium statement. The GOP will be trying to make a point that you are not “officially” signed up until you pay — but insurance companies are pleased and a lot of this can be attributed to paperwork delays in getting that first premium notice out.
The ACA has fully turned the corner. It had a lot to overcome. The technology was awful. Several state exchanges never got off the ground. Minnesota had its problems as well. But that was an inconvenience. The kind of inconvenience that we should be used to when dealing with health insurance companies. The real point is that millions of people ARE getting insurance.
With Qualified Plans, Medicaid Coverage and Expansion, adding young adults up to age 26 on parents plans, and the off-exchange sign ups at other health care websites -estimates get into the 16 to 18 million people getting insurance.
There are people still signing up. A lot of state exchanges are adopting the “in the queue” method, where if you get an application started, you will be given the time needed to complete it. Who knows how many more that will add to the 7+ million already there.
The GOP will still pick apart the numbers to criticize the law. They have to. They have invested ALL of their political capital into an ACA failure. But it looks now like that will not happen. The numbers prove it.
A Washington Post/ABC Poll put out on 3/31 indicates that for the first time since 2009, the approval for Obamacare has finally turned positive. 49% approve of the law, 48% disapprove.
You will probably start to see a wisp of desperation from GOP circles over the next few months. Ignore the shrillness of the voices. The ACA has turned the corner and all arrows are pointing up.
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