9 out of 10 Americans now covered, even more likely soon...
By Brad Friedman on 4/13/2015, 1:57pm PT  

The non-partisan, non-politicized data concerning the effects of the "job-killing", "failed" Affordable Care Act (ACA or "ObamaCare") continue to pour in, underscoring the indisputable success, to date, of the program's intended objectives.

Based on a longterm national tracking survey conducted by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, including responses from some 500 random Americans per day since 2008, the number of adults now covered by health insurance has reached 9 out of 10...

AP reports the numbers this way:

The Gallup-Healthways survey found that the share of adults who lack insurance dropped to 11.9 percent for the first three months of this year, the lowest level since that survey began its tracking in 2008. The latest update overlaps with the period when the health law's second sign-up season was winding down.

Coverage gains from 2014-2015 translate to about 3.6 million fewer adults uninsured since the fall, before open enrollment got under way, according to Gallup.
On balance, an estimated 14.75 million adults have gained coverage since the fall of 2013, when the law's first open enrollment season was about to begin, according to Gallup.

The survey also finds, according to AP, that "Hispanics saw the biggest coverage gains of any ethnic or racial group", with uninsured rates dropping some 8.3 points since 2013, before the bulk of the law's provisions first took effect at the beginning of 2014, and that while "gains in coverage have benefited people up and down the income ladder," the uninsured rate of those making less than $36,000 a year has plummeted most, falling 8.7 points since then.

The uninsured rate is also down significantly among younger Americans aged 26 to 34, "down 7.4 points since the end of 2013, the largest drop among any age group," according to Gallup. And American Americans "have also seen a substantial drop in their uninsured rate since the fourth quarter of 2013 --- 7.3 points."

The recent survey results are based on telephone interviews since the beginning of the year, with a random sample of 43,575 adults, with a margin of error of just +/- 1 percentage point for results based on the complete sample.

"The Affordable Care Act had three major objectives: increase coverage, slow the rate of increase in costs, and improve health," said Dan Witters, research director for the poll. "The first one is clearly a win. Coverage is increasing; there is no question about it."

Since peaking at 18% in the third quarter of 2013, notes Gallup, "the uninsured rate has dropped sharply since the most significant change to the U.S. healthcare system in the Affordable Care Act --- the provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance --- took effect at the beginning of 2014." The uninsured rate now stands at 11.9%, according to the survey.

"The uninsured rate could drop further in the months ahead," Gallup reports, "since the Obama administration established a special enrollment period for March 15 through April 30, aimed at signing up those who realize, while paying their taxes, that they must pay a fine for not obtaining healthcare coverage in 2014." Some state ACA exchanges, such as those in Minnesota, Washington and Vermont, have also extended their enrollment periods, which is likely to "further drive down the uninsured rate through May, when plans purchased in April go into effect."

Moreover, those covered by the ACA's expansion of Medicaid are not bound by the open enrollment period. So as more Americans take advantage of the opportunity to receive low or no cost medical care through that aspect of the program, particularly as more Republican states decide to do the right thing and allow their residents to receive medical care under the federal expansion of the program. To date, the survey finds, the so-called "Red States" of "Arkansas and Kentucky have seen the most improvement in uninsured rates as a result of expanding Medicaid and using state-run marketplaces."

As to the second main objective of "ObamaCare", as described by Witters, slowing the rate of the increase in medical costs has also met, and even exceeded the hopes of its proponents. As we noted in late 2013, the increasing cost of health care in the U.S. had, at the time, flattened for its smallest growth over a three-year period in American history. Additionally, as we noted in September of 2014, the average price for the benchmark silver plans offered under the ACA actually decreased almost a full percent in most locations from last year to this year.

Like it or not (and, as we've noted for years, we would have preferred a far more humane, less profitized single-payer system), the ACA is accomplishing its main goals to date, as well or better than even proponents had hoped.

And, no, as we also highlighted recently, despite unprecedented misinformation (lies) about the law by Republicans, both before and since its passage, "ObamaCare" is not a "jobs-killer" either. The objective data on that score as well, as you'll be shocked to learn, is the complete opposite of what the GOP had, and is still, falsely claiming about it.

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