A new study by the White House Council of Economic Advisers has found that thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of Americans who lack health insurance is heading for an historic low.
Earlier this week, the National Center for Health Statistics released new data on health insurance coverage during the second quarter of 2014, the first federal survey data that largely capture the effects of the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period. These new data confirm earlier findings that 2014 has seen dramatic reductions in the share of Americans without health insurance, reductions that correspond to an estimated 10 million people gaining coverage since before the start of open enrollment.
This progress is even more striking when viewed in historical context. Building on work by other researchers, the Council of Economic Advisers has constructed estimates of the share of Americans without health insurance extending back to 1963. These estimates show that the drop in the nation’s uninsured rate so far this year is the largest over any period since the early 1970s, years in which the Medicaid program was still ramping up and the Medicare and Medicaid programs were expanded to people with disabilities.
With this year’s decline, the nation’s uninsured rate is now at or near the lowest level recorded across five decades of data. Furthermore, new data out today on Medicaid enrollment and data on Marketplace plan selections from earlier this week show that progress in reducing the number of uninsured Americans is continuing.
The percentage of uninsured Americans has dropped from 14.4% before the launch of Obamacare to 11.3% during the second quarter of 2014. This decrease is directly attributable to the ACA. With enrollment expected to exceed goals by the end of the current enrollment period, the United States could finally become a nation where ninety percent or more of the population has healthcare coverage.
These developments are exactly what Republicans feared, and why they have fought so hard to repeal the law. Republicans are against millions of Americans gaining access to affordable healthcare through the private market. Everything that Republicans promised would happen if Obamacare became the law of the land has not occurred.
Reality hasn’t discouraged Republicans in the least. Mitch McConnell announced that one of the first priorities that the Republican controlled Senate will take up in early 2015 is a bill to repeal Obamacare. The ACA is working, and as millions more people gain access to healthcare, it is becoming more difficult for Republicans to repeal the law.
The ACA continues to gain steam, which means that a Republican repeal of the ACA is increasingly becoming a pipe dream.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association