Supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) claim the law has covered upwards of 20 million more Americans, but the new data proves that to be far from the case. As part of Congress’ continued push to repeal the ACA, or Obamacare, Republicans and Democrats of the House Budget Committee met this week for a hearing entitled “The Failures of Obamacare: Harmful Effects and Broken Promises.”
One of four who testified at the hearing was Heritage Foundation expert Ed Haislmaier. Haislmaier presented new data on the gains in health coverage since the implementation of Obamacare began in 2014. Reports on coverage gains such as that of the Obama administration’s are based on government surveys or private surveys data. A more accurate way to conduct these studies, however, is by actually counting the change in private insurance or Medicaid program enrollments.
Haislmaier’s testimony highlighted findings that only about 14 million people have gained coverage during the first two years of Obamacare’s full implementation (2014-2015). All the data is not yet available for the full year, but based on the first three quarters of 2016, there is a net total increase in coverage of about another 2.5 million people. That is a far cry from what has been reported.
The preliminary data show that during that period, enrollment in the individual market grew by 842,028 individuals, enrollment in fully insured employer plans declined by 1,128,597 individuals, enrollment in self-insured employer plans increased by 776,780 individuals, and Medicaid and CHIP [Children’s Health Insurance Program] enrollment increased by 2,044,809 individuals.
What does all this mean?
Medicaid coverage accounts for 81 percent of the total gain in coverage for the first three quarters of 2016. The bulk of the people covered are on Medicaid. The so called uninsured are people who always qualified for Medicaid. If you add in the 2016 preliminary data to the coverage gains from 2014 and 2015, there has been a total net gain in coverage of 16.5 million individuals from Obamacare’s launch through the first three quarters of 2016.
Medicaid coverage has increased by 13.8 million individuals and private coverage has had a net increase of 2.7 million individuals. The bottom line is President Obama did a complete overhaul of our healthcare insurance system and spent hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars just to cover 2.6 million new people?
In my opinion, a complete repeal will negatively affect some, but not the 20 million people America was told was uninsured before the ACA came into effect. Once again, the data confirms that Obamacare’s principle coverage effect has been to expand Medicaid, not to insure new people. The working poor still can’t afford healthcare insurance.