Tara Culp-Ressler: Obamacare Has Reversed A Negative Trend. Researchers Call It ‘Remarkable’
For the first time in a decade, the number of people struggling to pay their medical bills has started to decline, according to a new survey released on Thursday by the Commonwealth Fund. The researchers attributed the historic drop to the number of people gaining insurance under the health care reform law. Between 2012 and 2014 — as Obamacare’s main coverage expansion took effect — the Commonwealth researchers found that the number of people who had issues paying for health treatment dropped from 41 percent to 35 percent. Over the same time period, the people who skipped out on health services because they couldn’t afford them declined from 43 percent to 36 percent
In a press release, the researchers described the declines as “remarkable.” This marks the first time since 2005, when Commonwealth started surveying people on these questions, that the number of Americans struggling to afford medical care hasn’t increased. Commonwealth’s findings, which also documented a drop in the number of Americans going without insurance, track closely with other surveys that have reported declines in the uninsured rate under Obamacare. The number of Americans without health care was reduced by about 25 percent last year, which means that between eight million and eleven million people have gained coverage.
Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 16, 2015
Margot Sanger-Katz: Signs of A Decline In Financial Distress Connected To Medical Bills
After rising for a decade, the number of Americans experiencing financial distress from their medical bills has started to decline, a new survey has found. The result provides new evidence that the Affordable Care Act, by providing uninsured people with health insurance, is also improving their financial security, a major goal of the law. The large telephone survey, from the New York-based health research group the Commonwealth Fund, has been asking people about their medical bills every few years for a decade. In each survey through 2012, a higher percentage of Americans said they struggled to pay their medical bills, were paying off medical debt or had been contacted by a collection agency.
The most recent installment of the survey, the first since the health law’s major provisions kicked in, shows a reversal in that trend. The survey also found that fewer people were avoiding doctors’ visits because of concerns about cost. But Commonwealth also found that, over all, even people who had insurance before 2014 were having fewer problems with medical bills than they were before. That change may reflect rules in the health law that require individual insurance plans to cover a minimum set of benefits for every customer.
ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) January 15, 2015
Early Signs of Another Win for Obamacare immasmartypants.blogspot.com/2015/01/early-…—
Nancy LeTourneau (@Smartypants60) January 15, 2015
The New Health Care: Financial Distress Connected to Medical Bills Shows a Decline, the First in Years nyti.ms/156xnI0—
The New York Times (@nytimes) January 15, 2015
Obamacare (@obamacare) January 15, 2015