When all is said and done, the Affordable Care Act has resulted in at least 9.5 million – and perhaps around 10 million – previously uninsured people gaining health insurance, reducing the ranks of the nation’s uninsured from about 46.5 million to 37 million, or by only about 20 percent, according to data assembled by the Los Angeles Times.
What Americans will have to decide is whether this is worth it or whether this was the right way to boost coverage, given the enormous costs and the variety of adverse impacts associated with Obamacare.
How do we know it’s 9.5 million?
Here’s the most basic statistic: As of March 22, according to a Rand Corp. survey that was shared with the Times, the percentage of adults ages 18 to 64 without health insurance has declined from 20.9 percent last fall to 16.6 percent. If we assume America has about 46.5 million uninsured, that translates to a decline to about 37 million – a 9.5 million drop.
Given the mass signups that occurred in the last days of March, the number of uninsured who have gained a plan has gone up, so perhaps we’re at around 10 million.
How did we get there?
Well, not substantially through the Obamacare exchanges and their 7 million signups, which the White House is celebrating today.
The Times estimates that only about a third of of those signing up on the exchanges didn’t have insurance previously. And a study by McKinsey & Co. indicates that only about half of those who didn’t have insurance and who sign up to get it actually plunk down a premium and enroll, meaning the exchanges may have only subtracted million or so from the number of uninsured.
The real meat of Obamacare has been a raw increase in welfare. That is, about 4.5 million have gained coverage through the law’s expansion of Medicaid. It’s simply a transfer of wealth from taxpayers.
Another 3 million, the Times says, have benefited from their new right to hang out on their parents’ health plans until they turn 26. And some who were not insured have bought plans directly from insurers, bypassing the exchanges.
Meanwhile, “fewer than a million” have actually lost their insurance, the Times reports. Sorry Charlie.
If you’re not sure whether this was worth it, wait until your copays and deductibles start soaring as you are billed for the doctor who couldn’t seen you for six months. Or your taxes start rising to rescue insurers and pay the added welfare costs. Or your company drops your insurance. Or your company drops you. Or your young new doctor, a relative dummy who is willing to accept the declining physicians’ salaries, removes the wrong kidney.
Unless the Death Panel denied you the kidney surgery in the first place . . .