Dan Diamond: Thanks, Obamacare: America’s Uninsured Rate Is Below 10% For First Time Ever
For the first time in more than 50 years of surveys, the CDC on Wednesday reported that more than 90% of Americans — 90.8% of us, to be specific — have health insurance. Until now, no major survey had ever found that the uninsured rate in America has hit single digits. The data comes from the National Health Interview Survey, which the CDC and the Census Bureau have been conducting for more than 50 years.
Nearly 16 million fewer Americans were uninsured in early 2015 compared to 2013. And based on past precedent, there’s every expectation that the uninsured rate will continue to go down as enrollment in the ACA exchanges and Medicaid keeps going up. Having more insured customers is good for the health care industry, too. Hospitals are reporting huge jobs gains, and the health care sector is reporting its best 12-month stretch of new jobs in almost 25 years.
President Barack Obama plays basketball during a visit to the McIntosh family farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa, Aug. 13, 2012. The President toured a cornfield on the family farm to view the effect the drought is having on crops. Photo by Pete Souza
The number of people without health insurance has declined by 15.8 million since ObamaCare’s coverage expansion took effect, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The National Health Interview Survey finds that the number of uninsured people has declined from 44.8 million in 2013, before ObamaCare’s coverage expansion took effect, to 29 million in the first quarter of 2015. The uninsured rate fell from 14.4 percent in 2013 to 9.2 percent in 2015, according to the CDC.
The CDC report follows other studies that have found similar drops in the uninsured rate under ObamaCare. The Obama administration estimated in March that 16.4 million people had gained coverage under the law, using Gallup survey data. On Monday, Gallup released a survey showing the uninsured rate had fallen from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 11.7 percent. The survey also found that there are now seven states with uninsured rates at or below 5 percent: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Minnesota, Iowa, Connecticut and Hawaii. Before this year, only Massachusetts had a rate that low.
President Barack Obama talks with farmers during a tour of the McIntosh family farm to view the effects of the drought, in Missouri Valley, Iowa, Aug. 13, 2012. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, foreground, joins the President. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas discuss the 2012 Summer Olympic Games during an appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” at the Tonight Show Studio in Burbank, Calif., Aug. 13, 2012. Photo by Sonya N. Hebert
President Barack Obama delivers remarks during an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room of the White House, Aug. 13, 2010. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama listens to National Security Advisor General James Jones, second from left, during a meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, on Aug. 13, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with Senior Advisor David Alexrod on the Colonnade of the White House on Aug. 13, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama plays basketball at the McIntosh family farm in Missouri Valley, Iowa, Aug. 13, 2012. The President toured a cornfield on the farm to view the effect the drought is having on crops. Photo by Pete Souza
Politics makes for odd sickbed funding. When Texas Senator Ted Cruz made his plans to run for president official, the announcement came with an awkward revelation: Cruz, who has made opposition to the law his signature, would have to enroll in Obamacare.
But Cruz isn’t the only GOP presidential hopeful to hold his nose and accept some filthy healthcare lucre. As this Reuters graphic shows, since 2010, Affordable Care Act (ACA) grants have doled out varying amounts to states, from less than $10 million to over $500 million. Some of those grants have gone to some surprising places: A Reuters exclusive from Andy Sullivan reveals that Governors Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Texas Governor Rick Perry collectively applied for and won at least $352 million in ACA grants.
Sarah Kliff: Obamacare Creates Choice. That’s Why People Like It
Obamacare enrollees are more satisfied with their health insurance plans than those who get coverage outside the health law’s marketplaces, a new survey finds. J.D. Power and Associates on Thursday published a consumer satisfaction survey that looked at both people getting coverage through Obamacare and those who get coverage elsewhere, typically through their employer. They used a 1,000-point scale to measure how much people liked their coverage.
People who had coverage through Obamacare had an average satisfaction score of 696 in 2014, thinking back to their last year of coverage. During that same year, people in mostly employer-based plans had a satisfaction rating of 679 — 17 points lower. The J.D. Power survey suggests that there’s another variable enrollees think a lot about: choice. And this might actually circle back to the cost issue. People shopping on Obamacare have the option to decide whether they want a plan with a high premium or a low one.
Underlining a change across the nation, nearly 9 out of 10 adults now say they have health insurance, according to an extensive survey released Monday. As recently as 2013, slightly more than 8 out of 10 had coverage. 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. “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.” 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. Hispanics saw the biggest coverage gains of any ethnic or racial group. The uninsured rate dropped 8.3 points among Latinos since the end of 2013. Recent gains in coverage have benefited people up and down the income ladder. But the most notable improvement has been among those making less than $36,000 a year, a group that traditionally struggled to get and keep health insurance. Their uninsured rate dropped 8.7 points since the end of 2013.
Amy Lynn Smith: Having Faced A Medical Bankruptcy, Republican Has A Change Of Heart About The ACA
When health insurance became available through Healthcare.gov last year, Theresa had her doubts about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a fiercely independent small business owner — and a Republican — the only news she saw about Obamacare was negative. Theresa says she’s grateful she didn’t listen to the people who told her Obamacare was “bullsh*t.” Through Healthcare.gov, she found a Silver plan for just $94 per month, with the help of tax credits. About six years ago, Theresa had polyps on her vocal cords and her doctor told her if she didn’t have surgery she could choke on them or bleed to death. Plus, there was a chance the polyps could turn cancerous.
Theresa didn’t have a choice, but without insurance her surgeons demanded payment in advance. She says the surgery and subsequent care cost her “tens of thousands of dollars.” Fortunately, starting in January 2015 Theresa will have health insurance that’s accepted by all her doctors, with a $700 annual deductible and $1,450 out-of-pocket maximum limit. It will cost her just a $20 co-pay to see her primary physician and $50 to see a specialist. She can’t wait to schedule all her check-ups, including the necessary follow-up on the remaining polyps she couldn’t afford to have removed.
Nearly 11.7 million people have either signed up or re-enrolled for insurance coverage under the U.S. healthcare reform law, more than the 9.1 million predicted by the Obama administration,health officials said on Tuesday. As of Feb. 22, about 8.8 million signed up in one of the 37 states that use online exchanges operated by the federal government and 2.85 million were in the 14 states, and Washington, D.C., that operate their own exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement. In the states that use the federal exchange, called healthcare.gov,
87 percent qualified for a tax credit averaging $263 per month, according to HHS. It said more than half of consumers in states using healthcare.gov bought a plan that cost $100 or less after tax credits. Enrollment across the board has largely exceeded expectations, health officials said. The enrollment period for 2015 coverage opened on Nov. 15 and closed on Feb. 15. More than 4.1 million people under 35 years old have purchased health insurance through state and federal exchanges, the HHS said Tuesday, about a third of enrollees.
Amy Lynn Smith: Michigan Small Business Offers Competitive Employee Benefits Thanks To The ACA
Ryan Irvin and Amanda Stitt are the kind of small business owners who want to do the right thing for their employees. But they’re also business owners who need to pay attention to the bottom line. Fortunately, they’re able to do both. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace at Healthcare.gov gives businesses with less than 50 employees everything they need to find the right plan for their employees and get them all covered. Last year, Irvin and Stitt — who are married with a baby girl, Amelia — were paying for their own insurance after Stitt transitioned from her previous job to become chief executive officer of Change Media Group. They were also paying the premiums of one full-time employee who purchased her coverage at Healthcare.gov.
But setting up an employer plan through the SHOP Marketplace made a lot more sense, says Irvin. For Amanda, Amelia and myself, we were paying $1,282 in premiums last year. We’ll get to deduct those premiums from our taxes but we won’t get the small business tax credit offered through SHOP. Add on what we were paying for our employee’s coverage and we were paying $1,539 a month. For 2015, with our SHOP plan, we’ll be paying $1,448 a month for our family and that one employee, which is a savings of $100 a month in premiums. Plus, instead of a tax deduction of 25-30% for our premiums we’ll get a 40-50% tax credit to the business for the premiums we pay.