Nel's New Day

May 13, 2014

Spread the Word! ACA Works!

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 10:34 PM
Tags: , ,

What do Republicans think of the Affordable Care Act now? My centrist friend said that is was a nice idea but …. There’s been a lot of mellowing in the past year. At the same time, the House has gone quiet about the ACA.

After over 50 votes against ACA, the House has no scheduled votes or hearings about ACA and moved its focus to Benghazi. Only one panel of jurisdiction commented on the ACA to The Hill even after a number of inquiries, and GOP campaign committees refuse to say whether they have plans for any new efforts. The chart shows that the leading conservative network, Fox, joined lawmakers in ignoring the ACA.

benghaziobamacare550

National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Brook Hougesen didn’t notice that the focus had changed from ACA to Benghazi. In a statement, she wrote, “There is absolutely zero evidence that any Republican is talking about ObamaCare less.”

Reasons that the GOP shies away from the ACA:

  • Insurance companies have had to rebate over $1.5 billion because the new law mandates insurance companies send 80 percent of premiums to pay for treatment and medical costs.
  • Health insurance executives summoned to a House hearing testified that the law had not resulted in a government takeover of the industry and that their stock prices had increased since the law was passed. They also refused to agree with the GOP position that insurance premiums would sharply increase next year.
  • Over 8 million people in the United States have used the federal exchange to sign up for coverage.
  • Most of the people who signed up for the open enrollment period have paid their premiums.
  • Twelve million more nonelderly people will have health insurance in 2014 because of the ACA.
  • The ACA will cost $104 billion less over the next decade than projected according to nonpartisan budget analysists because premiums will require a lower subsidy than previously thought.

As the uninsurance rate drops to record lows, it is declining the fastest among the communities that usually lack health care, non-white and lower-income people. Between the last quarter of 2013 and the first one of 2014, the uninsurance rate fell by 7.1 percent among black adults. The uninsurance rate was down by 5.5 points with both Hispanics and people with an annual household income of under $36,000. The 13.4 percent rate in April is the lowest since Gallup began tracking monthly data six years ago. The decline occurred with the first open enrollment period starting last October.

percentage by uninsured new

Because most the GOP-led states have refused ACA’s optional Medicaid expansion, those states continued to have higher uninsurance rates than those who don’t deny health care for millions of the working poor. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation rating health using 42 different issues from insurance coverage to cancer deaths shows the serious problems primarily in the South. As an example, a black man living in Mississippi has a shorter life expectancy than the average person living in the United States in 1960. Sixteen states in the bottom half of the rankings have refused to expand Medicaid. In Mississippi, a family of four making more than $6,800 a year is ineligible for Medicaid. Adults without dependent children are completely ineligible despite the level of their income. The cutoffs for Alabama at $3,221 and Texas at $3,737 are worse.

worst states for health care

The Massachusetts healthcare plan, similar to the ACA, shows how the law will save lives. The state passed its law in 2006; in the first four years of the law 320 fewer people in the state died than would have been predicted. That’s one life for every 830 newly insured residents. The state’s death rate dropped 2.9 percent when compared to similar places outside Massachusetts that did not expand health coverage.

White residents are living longer, but the biggest improvement is the 4.6 percent drop for blacks, Asians, and Latinos. The lead author said the most significant decline was in conditions that could be prevented or delayed with medical care including cancer, infections, and heart disease. No statistical differences were in deaths from causes such as car crashes, homicide, and suicide.

Some conservative responsed to the report from Massachusetts by saying that saving people’s lives is all very nice but it’s not the government’s role. These are the same people who are willing to give up their privacy if they think if will make them safer. These are the same people who are willing to spend trillions of dollars to kill people in other countries. I cannot understand why these people think that saving lives from accessible health care is wrong.

Kentucky is a classic case of the healthcare dilemma for the GOP. Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, embraced the law with a state exchange called Kynect. He now has a 55 percent approval rating. The result was enrollment of 413,410 people, 9.6 percent of the state population. About three-fourths of these people had not had any health insurance, and over half of enrollees are under 35. The irony is that the majority of them don’t like “Obamacare” although they are pleased with the Affordable Care Act—a confusion that the GOP has promoted.

One of Kentucky’s senators, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, hates both Obamacare and the ACA. Pushed into a corner about what would happen to the 300,000 previously uninsured people if he succeeded in repealing the law, he resorted to a high-risk pool, but only at the state level. In the past, Kentucky Access helped provide private insurance for people in the state who couldn’t get insurance because of pre-existing conditions. The program started in 2001 and closed because the ACA made it redundant.

Kentucky Access was too expensive for most people, and in 2013 only 3,988 Kentuckians had coverage through this program that was far inferior to the ACA.  The average premium was $680 per month, and the popular plan with a pharmacy rider cost a 64-year-old man a monthly premium of $1,118. These costs may be more than ten times as much as ACA premiums for low-income workers.

A conservative with a 32-percent approval rating is running on the position that he would take almost 300,000 off of insurance and give the remaining few thousand worse coverage for a lot more money. This is the Republican plan.

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