Obamacare working well five years later

President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law.

President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act into law.

On the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, the health care law is meeting many of its goals. Millions more people have health insurance. The health care spending curve is bending, meaning costs are not going up as fast as they used to. Insurance premiums are being held in check. Jobs in the health care sector continue to grow. And the law’s overall price tag is lower than expected.

So despite the technical problems on the ACA website during its truly awful roll-out in the fall of 2013, the law is a success, and it’s helping people.

Even if Republicans fail to acknowledge the truth.

There are many stories marking the fifth anniversary of President Obama signing his greatest accomplishment into law. The White House is — understandably — touting some facts and figures about the law that spell out its successes clearly. Here are a few examples from the White House blog. Over five years:

  •  More than 16 million Americans have gained health insurance coverage.
  • 9.4 million people on Medicare saved more than $15 billion on prescriptions.
  • 105 million people no longer have lifetime limits on coverage.
  • Zero death panels were created.

At the same time, parents can keep their children on their health insurance plans until age 26. There are no more coverage denials for pre-existing health conditions.

Mother Jones has its own story and its own chart. Some more facts and figures:

  • The rate of uninsured adults has dropped to 12.3 percent.
  • 57 percent of insurance exchange customers were previously uninsured.
  • The Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of ACA subsidies is $209 billion less than projected. That’s 20 percent less than the original estimate.

There are many more examples. Yet Republicans in Congress have tried to repeal the ACA more than 50 times. And five years later, despite many promises of an alternative, they have yet to offer a plan that would do anything to help people gain and keep health care coverage. A plan to do anything at all, when it comes down to it. They just repeat the line that the law is a “disaster,” even when their statements fly in the face of reality.

The biggest threat to the ACA right now is the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, King v. Burwell. The basis of the lawsuit challenges the subsidies for people who got health insurance through the federal exchange rather than state exchanges.The suit claims the law didn’t intend to award subsidies for policies bought outside state exchanges, despite statements from those who wrote the law to the contrary.

If the conservatives on the court prevail, 13.4 million people could lose the subsidies they are receiving right now on their insurance. Some 8.2 million people could lose their insurance all together.

All because of what basically was a typo in the law.

Today Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced that he is running for president. He, of course, wants to repeal Obamacare, something he mentioned when he declared his candidacy at Liberty University in Virginia, promising the law’s repeal in 2017. There was speculation that he chose this day to kick off his campaign just to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the ACA. Of course, Cruz shows only marginal support in polls asking about the GOP field (not that those mean much at this date anyway). And his only real accomplishment since he became a senator was to lead the charge to shut down the government over Obamacare.

He may not be too serious in his candidacy, though. If you go to TedCruzforAmerica.com, you end up at the White House’s health care website, Healthcare.gov.


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