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Issue Analysis

Obamacare Success Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Hey-it's working! Or something...

Attention Obamacare haters: The law you despise appears to be working.

The Census Bureau this morning released its annual report on income, poverty, and health insurance.  My colleagues will be back later to discuss the income findings, but I want to flag the health care numbers right away. For the first time in three years, the proportion of Americans who have health insurance went up, from 83.7 percent in 2010 to 84.3 percent in 2011.

Pop the champagne, everything is just fine now. Just for fun, however, why don't we dig a little deeper into the news.

And what explains the shift? The breakdown by age offers some clues. Relative to last year, the percentage of young adults with health insurance rose by 2.2 points. That was the largest increase of any group. And it was the second year in a row that coverage among young adults increased. Overall, according to Census officials, the percentage of young Americans has gone up by about 4 percent during that span.

As you probably know, the Affordable Care Act allows young adults to enroll on their parents’ health insurance plans if they have no access to coverage on their own. That provision surely doesn’t account for all of the young adults getting coverage. But it surely explains a lot of it.

"No access". Because, as everyone knows, the first thing that happens when an American hits the age of 20 is that he or she is banned from applying for health insurance for seven years.

The spin here is obvious. The economy is still so dreadful that young adults are being forced to relive their high school years at mom's house and even President Obama is telling them it's going to be rough for a while. In this Through the Looking Glass version of America we're living in the fact that the demographic that needs it least can get health insurance rather than a job is seen as a sign of success for Obamacare.

One small reality check for those who say the law is "working". Access to health insurance and access to health care are very different and the relationship between the two will be made more difficult under Obamacare.

In the Inland Empire, an economically depressed region in Southern California, President Obama’s health care law is expected to extend insurance coverage to more than 300,000 people by 2014. But coverage will not necessarily translate into care: Local health experts doubt there will be enough doctors to meet the area’s needs.


Health experts, including many who support the law, say there is little that the government or the medical profession will be able to do to close the gap by 2014, when the law begins extending coverage to about 30 million Americans. It typically takes a decade to train a doctor.

There is also the matter of the physicians the law may be driving away from medicine altogether.

Blaming low compensation and the hassles of healthcare reform, 34% of physicians say they plan to leave the practice of medicine over the next decade, according to a new national survey.

Remember, we have to repeal the law so we don't have to keep finding out what's in it.

Carol Hill

Here's how it worked for a Medicare patient in a Florida hospital where a family member is a 4th year medical student. So, there is a man in the hospital - a Medicare patient. He has been there for three weeks and the docs cannot get to the bottom of the problem. They call medicare to get another test okay-ed in hopes of diagnosing the problem and getting him well enough to go home. Medicare told the hospital that they could do the test, but they, the hospital, would be comping it. Furthermore Medicare told the hospital if they went ahead with the test, Medicare would withdraw any tests they had paid for to date. Punishment, Blackmail, death panels. People laughed, but that story gave me a glimpse of the future and it is not pretty. The point the blog made is correct. More people will be covered but may not be able to access the care. I am afraid the poor and those without health insurance will be trading one card for another and not much will change and could very well get worse. The doc shortage is a very real possibility. Sounds like a hollow victory to me. I verified that story twice because I could not believe what I heard the first time.

Gary Johnson

Are you fucking high? Its working? the fact is 30% of americans are unemployed or underemployed, The obama govenment is going to tax you if you dont have health insurance, Small buisnesses are going to go under because they cant afford the health insurance. More people are on welfare than ever in the history of welfare. We are losing our freedom more and more everyday. The only way out under NOBAMA is a total economic collapse which means people wont have water, electricity, food and the secret police (homeland security) just purchased 750 million rounds of hollow point bullits, They are for when the collapse comes and they will be used on you and me. I feel sorry for all you brainwased dumb mother fuckers who are buying thr bullshit NOBAMA is spilling out his lying mouth. Do you know where this piece of shit comes from? have you watched how he handles americans being murdered in muslim countries? This man wants to destroy the constitution. He is a rasist and hes got a hard-on for people that have money. Why in the fuck do I want to take profits from a buisness that I started and share it with the lazy welfare sucking assholes that dont work or want to work.? I tell you what , Go outside clear the NOBAMA shit out of your head and educate yourself.