The Urban Institute’s latest Health Reform Monitoring Survey, released on December 3rd, shows that Obamacare is working. The survey finds that the number of uninsured nonelderly American adults fell by over 10 million between September 2013 and September 2014. That figure represents over a 30 percent decrease in the number of uninsured adults age 18-64, in just one year’ s time.
In September 2013, an estimated 17.7 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-64 lacked health insurance. By September 2014, the percentage had fallen to just 12.4 percent of 18-64 year-olds. The gains in coverage benefited Americans across all ages, income levels, and ethnic groups. However, the most substantial improvements in coverage came for low-income Americans in states that accepted the federal Medicaid expansion.
If Republican Governors in many states had not blocked Medicaid expansion, even more Americans would have health insurance coverage. The uninsured rate plummeted a staggering 36.3 percent in the states that implemented the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. By contrast, in states that rejected the Medicaid expansion, the uninsured rate dipped just 23.9 percent.
One of the primary stated goals of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) was to make coverage more secure for those who had insurance, and to extend affordable coverage to those who were without insurance. The Urban Institute’s latest survey of health care outcomes demonstrates quite clearly that Obamacare is working as intended. The study also reveals that it would be working even better if Republican Governors and state legislatures would have accepted the Medicaid expansion instead of being hell bent on preventing the Affordable Care Act from working.
For the over 10 million adults between the ages of 18-64 who are now insured, the numbers are not mere statistics. They are opportunities for better health, obtaining necessary medications, and enjoying a longer life. Despite all of the criticisms heaped upon “Obamacare” by the charlatans and naysayers on the far right, the program is working as intended. For most Americans that is a good thing.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.