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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Obamacare Context

The president announced that 7.1 million people had signed up on the health insurance exchanges.  At The Hill, Elise Viebeck and Jonathan Easley provide some context:
The central argument for ObamaCare’s passage was the need to cover the uninsured; 48 million people lacked coverage in 2012, according to the Census Bureau.
The administration last week said 6 million have signed up on the federal or state exchanges. Officials say they don’t know how many of these people previously lacked coverage, but independent estimates range as low as just 1 million, just 2 percent of those previously uncovered.
As many as 1.2 million may not have paid their first bill, which is a prerequisite for using a policy.
The law allows people up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ coverage, which a 2012 study by the Commonwealth Fund said added 6.6 million people to insurance rolls the previous year.
ObamaCare also expanded Medicaid, providing insurance to about 3 million additional people, according to Avalere Health.
If those totals were accurate, 
ObamaCare would be contributing to the insurance coverage of about 15.6 million people this year.
But because of ObamaCare, an estimated 4.7 million people have received cancellation notices for their existing policies.
Many were shifted to other plans or signed up for the exchanges, but some may have dropped health insurance for this year as they confronted higher-than-expected costs.
A Gallup survey released this month found the percentage of people who say they lack coverage fell in March to 15.9 percent — the lowest point in five years and more than two percentage points lower than the 18 percent recorded in mid-2013.
The Census Bureau’s annual report is usually published in September, so official insurance data for this year will probably not be available until after Labor Day of 2015.