Support for Obamacare

Today is the last day to sign up for healthcare and not get penalized. It looks pretty good:

The first yearly sign-up period for the new federal health program will close Monday, with early data suggesting that the administration may be near its original enrollment goal of 7 million people, which was set before the troubled startup of the insurance exchanges.

Actually, it’s even better than that:

As the law’s initial enrollment period closes, at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gained coverage.

• At least 6 million people have signed up for health coverage on the new marketplaces, about one-third of whom were previously uninsured.

• A February survey by consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found 27% of new enrollees were previously uninsured, but newer survey data from the nonprofit Rand Corp. and reports from marketplace officials in several states suggest that share increased in March.

• At least 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have signed up for state Medicaid programs, according to Rand’s unpublished survey data, which were shared with The Times. That tracks with estimates from Avalere Health, a consulting firm that is closely following the law’s implementation.

• An additional 3 million young adults have gained coverage in recent years through a provision of the law that enables dependent children to remain on their parents’ health plans until they turn 26, according to national health insurance surveys from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• About 9 million people have bought health plans directly from insurers, instead of using the marketplaces, Rand found. The vast majority of these people were previously insured.

• Fewer than a million people who had health plans in 2013 are now uninsured because their plans were canceled for not meeting new standards set by the law, the Rand survey indicates.

There are possible problems in the future (rates are still rising pretty fast for example), but this is a very good start. The problem is that you don’t hear this very often in the news (if you want to get the best estimates go here). Perhaps that’s why we get news like this:

Despite a late surge in sign-ups, support for President Obama’s health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago, according to a new poll.

The Associated Press-GfK survey finds that 26 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act. Yet even fewer — 13 percent — think it will be repealed. A narrow majority expects the law to be further implemented with minor changes, or as passed.

Of course, as Kevin Drum often notes, this is deceptive because some of the people who say they don’t support Obamacare think it doesn’t go far enough (for example, we want single-payer or don’t think the subsidies are large enough). This has been true since Obama started talking about his healthcare plans so you might think reporters would include the percent that either support Obamacare or want it expanded, but they usually don’t. Kaiser does a pretty good job here, but you have to dig a bit.


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