Say it loud and say it proud: ObamaCare is a major success, by any non-political measure that you care to use.
The latest confirmation of the success of ObamaCare comes from a new report by the highly respected and thoroughly nonpolitical RAND Corp. According to its new study, 16.9 million previously uninsured Americans now have health insurance as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act.
As RAND concludes after looking through the evidence:
“The ACA has greatly expanded health insurance coverage in the United States with little change in the source of coverage for those who were insured before the major provisions of the law took effect. Furthermore, the law has expanded coverage using all parts of the health insurance system, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid, and the newly created marketplaces.”
By RAND’s count, that’s 16.9 million Americans with much-enhanced access to the health-care system. That’s 16.9 million Americans who can now pay their bills, with much less worry about being bankrupted by an illness or injury. (Many of the previously uninsured had pre-existing conditions that had made coverage unobtainable.)
Without a doubt, ObamaCare has saved many, many lives and improved many others. (The latest research suggests that it is now saving some 24,000 American lives annually.) In states that have accepted its assistance, it has also preserved an often rickety health-care-delivery system in rural areas and high-poverty urban areas.
And its critics?
- They predicted it would destroy jobs and halt an economic recovery.
- They predicted it would lead to a huge jump in health-care costs. Instead, those costs have moderated significantly. In 2013, the last year for which we have data, health-care spending rose just 3.6 percent, well below the historic average. Health care consumed the same amount of GDP (17.4 percent) as in 2009. It’s hard to determine precisely what role the cost-control provisions of ObamaCare may have played in that moderation, but we know for certain that it has not created the huge cost increase predicted by its opponents.
- They predicted that millions of Americans would lose employer-provided insurance as businesses dropped health-care coverage. Instead, the RAND study found that between September 2013 and February 2015, an additional 8 million Americans gained health insurance through their employer.
- They predicted that employers would force millions of full-time workers into part-time status to avoid mandatory health-care coverage. Instead, the number of Americans who are working part-time but want full-time work has fallen by 2.5 million since 2010, a decrease of 27 percent.
- They predicted that cost projections by the Congressional Budget Office used by policymakers to defend the program would prove spectacularly wrong. On that point, they were sadly correct. Sad for them, that is. Back in March 2010, the CBO projected that ObamaCare would cost $710 billion between 2015 and 2019. The latest CBO cost projection for those years is now $506 billion, a 29 percent DECREASE from initial projections.
- They predicted that ObamaCare would force millions of Americans off their previous insurance plans, and cause millions of others to lose insurance altogether. Au contraire, says RAND: ” … the share of people losing coverage between 2013 and 2014 was no higher than the share of people who lost coverage in prior years.”
Furthermore, says RAND:
“One concern frequently cited by public officials and the media was that people may have lost individual market coverage as a result of plan cancellations. We found that the vast majority of those with individual market insurance in 2013 remained insured in 2015, which suggests that even among those who had their individual market policies canceled, most found coverage through an alternative source. Others who had their policies canceled may have become eligible for the ACA’s tax credits, potentially making Marketplace plans more affordable than their previous nongroup policies.”
Back in 2010, Nancy Pelosi famously noted that “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy,” a statement that critics of the bill instantly twisted into something it was not.
What Pelosi clearly meant was that with all the political rhetoric, posturing, claims and counter-claims about the bill, with all the false outrage over “death panels,” etc., Americans would have to see the program actually implemented before they could judge whether it was the disaster that critics had predicted, or whether it represented the significant advance that its supporters promised.
That was five years ago. Some would have you believe that the “fog of controversy” still exists. It does not. The fog of controversy has been dispelled, and all we have left is people blowing smoke.
Say it loud and say it proud: ObamaCare is a major success, by any measure that you care to use.