Numbers Adding Up For Obamacare

It’s taking a while, but putting together data from different sources, it’s increasingly obvious that the Affordable Care Act is beginning to achieve its principal goal of expanding health coverage to the uninsured. A new Commonwealth Fund study out this week shows that the percentage of working-aged Americans without health insurance dropped from 20% to 15% during a period that roughly corresponds with the full implementation of Obamacare, which would indicate that over 9 million people are getting insurance for the first time. That’s in line with original expectations for Obamacare, as Jonathan Cohn explains:

[T]he Congressional Budget Office predicted that, one year into full implementation, Obamacare would reduce the number of Americans without insurance by twelve million. That included the young adults who got insurance before 2014, by signing onto their parents’ plans. There’s been some controversy over exactly how many more young people are insured because of that new option, but the best estimates I’ve seen place the number somewhere between 1 and 2.5 million. Add that number to the 9.5 million from the Commonwealth survey, and you’re close or equal to the CBO projections.

Since most opponents of Obamacare cannot admit even partial success, you won’t read those number in the conservative media unless it’s part of an effort to deny them. But the haterz may have ironically lowered expectations to the point that Americans may be pleasantly surprised when it becomes clear the initiative has done a lot of good and isn’t a “failure” or “disaster.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.