The Los Angeles Times ran a story that debunked the entire conservative myth that the Affordable Care Act is not doing much to bring down number of uninsured people in America. Based on surveys and just cold, hard facts, Noam Levey at the Times reported that nearly 10 million people that were previously uninsured now have health coverage due directly to the ACA.
Prior to this first enrollment period on the ACA’s health exchanges, the number of uninsured Americans was estimated at 45 million. Therefore, in its first year of being fully implemented, the ACA has already reduced the uninsured ranks in this nation by at least 20%. And that percentage might end up being higher when the final enrollment figures come in.
Below is an excerpt from the Times‘ article showing how the ACA has helped create coverage for so many Americans:
• 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• At least 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have signed up for state Medicaid programs, according to Rand’s unpublished survey data, which were shared with The Times.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 indicates.
Remember when Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) claimed that Obamacare had created more uninsured people than it helped insure? Yeah, not only was that claim ridiculed at the time he made it, but it now might come across as one of the biggest blunders ever made by a politician. If Democrats are smart, they will juxtapose Boehner’s statement with the reality that 10 million uninsured people have now received coverage in ads all across the country this election season. As Bill Maher said on Friday, the Democrats don’t need to run away from Obamacare, they need to run ON Obamacare.
And this is all just the tip of the iceberg. Enrollment in the exchanges is expected to double next year and then increase again in 2016. At that point, only a small number of people will not have health coverage of some kind. There is absolutely no way that Republicans can even attempt to try to repeal the law now. It would create absolute chaos. On top of that, it would anger tens of millions of people who will be kicked off of their insurance plans. Even if the Republicans keep the House and gain control of the Senate in November, the repeal fantasy is DOA. It would be political suicide for Republicans going forward.
The message to Democrats is clear: Obamacare is a winner. Get behind it. Take credit for it. RUN on it. Don’t be meek and allow the Republicans to control the conversation and force you on the defensive. 10 million previously uninsured people now have health coverage because of what you did. Republicans would have left them in the cold and allowed the country’s health care system to stay on the terrible road it was on. You built that, not them. Let the people know who has their best interests at heart.