President Obama has managed to deliver a massive political victory, as health insurance experts agree that ACA enrollment is large enough for the program to go forward.
Forbes has the details:
Health benefits consultants agree with President Obama’s assessment this week that enough Americans have signed up to private health plans under the Affordable Care Act that it will work even though there could be up to two million fewer Americans covered than the White House had hoped.
“We would agree with the president, but it’s really on a state-by-state basis,” said Bryce Williams, managing director of benefits consultancy Towers Watson’s exchange solutions segment. “We don’t even look at the national enrollments. You don’t need to get to 6 to 7 million nationally.”
So far, however, health insurance companies have said the enrollment is trending younger and there have been few surprises that would require them to pull out of the program.
“Six or seven million people doesn’t sound like much in a population of 300 million, but when you consider that the majority of Americans gets their health insurance through employers, and another large chunk is covered by government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare, you’re left with 12 million covered in the Individual market and about 48 million uninsured pre-ACA,” said Helen Leis, partner in the health and life sciences practice group at Oliver Wyman, “Six or seven million of that is good uptake after less than six months. We expect to see about 22 million lives on the public exchanges by 2018.”
After it became obvious that they were not going to be able to repeal the ACA, Republicans, and their right wing billionaires put all of their chips on preventing people from signing up.
The anti-Obamacare forces spent months deploying every tactic that they could think of in an attempt to dissuade the uninsured, especially younger people, from signing up.
It is estimated that 2.6 million people have gotten covered under the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. The CBO originally estimated that 7 million people could be covered under the Medicaid expansion by the end of this year. That number looks very likely to happen.
At the low end of the scale, Obamacare could end up providing 33 million of the nation’s 48 million uninsured with access to healthcare. The ACA will likely end up covering 70%-80% of the nation’s uninsured over the next few years.
Republicans will try to spin the program’s failure to meet their subjective goal of 7 million sign ups as a public rejection of the Affordable Care Act, but it is clear, without the website issues during the launch of the program, the Obama administration would have likely surpassed their sign up goals.
Politically, the Republican Party has painted itself into a corner. The repeal or bust rhetoric that are hanging their next two political campaigns on is nothing more than a campaign to take away access to healthcare for 30 million people. This will play well in Republican controlled states that have already rejected the ACA, but it will be a disaster in the rest of the country.
President Obama has delivered what Democrats have dreamed of decades, and he is bringing this country closer to universal coverage than at any time in its history.
This is a presidential legacy defining moment, and some real change that people can believe in. It has been a long hard battle, but the president and his supporters are the verge of a victory that they have spent years fighting for.