The Frustrating Truth About Obamacare

The Frustrating Truth About Obamacare
January 30 01:00 2016

The Frustrating Truth About Obamacare

Obamacare is getting boring.

With little time before Sunday’s deadline for people to enroll in private health insurance via and the 13 state-run health insurance exchanges this year, there’s just not much new to say about the Affordable Care Act’s impact on this part of the health care system.

Three years after the launch of the exchange marketplaces, they seem to be doing … pretty okay. The uninsured rate is way down, millions of people have used them to get health insurance, and more than 80 percent of them qualified for financial assistance. The exchanges have made it easier for low-income families to enroll in Medicaid, too. Obamacare enrollment may be transitioning from a major event to something annoying that people have to do every year, like filing taxes.

Still, major concerns remain about what will happen over time, like whether health insurers can make enough money to keep participating and whether the coverage available is affordable for enough consumers.

In other words, Obamacare is neither the disaster opponents predicted nor a smashing success that exceeded its creators’ goals and completed the American safety net.

Year three of Obamacare enrollment promises to bring only incremental changes from year two, and little in the way of firm answers to lingering questions. The uninsured rate is about the same, the sign-up numbers are about the same, the polling numbers are about the same, and the worries about this new market are about the same.

Sure, the exchanges and Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion have transformed the way low- and moderate-income people get covered. And the slow pace of change doesn’t take anything away from the positive impact the law has had on the 17.6 million people who had no health insurance before, or had to pay more because there were no subsidies. Nor does it diminish the stress for those who are stretching their family budgets to buy insurance and avoid paying a penalty for not having coverage, or for those who just can’t afford it.

But it does make it impossible to draw grand conclusions about where the system is headed, or to conclude much more about it today than could’ve been done a year ago.

It’s also true that the politics of Obamacare are as heated as ever among those still paying attention. That includes everyone running for president and the Republicans in Congress who are still trying to repeal it and dithering over whether they have any better ideas. But the rhetorical arguments about health care reform haven’t varied since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, no matter what the facts show. That bickering doesn’t look likely to end or change course no matter who wins the White House in November…

Read full story at Huffington Post
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