The White House said on Thursday that more than six million people have signed up for private plans, a significant political milestone for the Obama administration. Independent analysts estimate that an additional 3.5 million Americans are newly insured under Medicaid — figures the law’s backers hail as a success.
The emphasis is mine on that last line. For most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act‘s troubled sojourn, the New York Times has donned cheerleader skirts whenever discussing it. Now they’re flinging skepticism about like a clown throwing out creepy at an adult’s birthday party. Now it’s not a lot of dreamy eyed, “Mr. Obama said…” reporting but, “the law’s backers”.
Distance yourselves much?
But those numbers may not reveal much. Federal officials do not know how many of those who selected plans were previously uninsured, or how many actually paid their premiums. Independent experts warn that the intense focus on national numbers is misguided, and that it will take years to fully assess the law’s impact, much less deem it a success or a failure.
“The whole narrative about Obamacare — ‘Will they get to six million? What is the percentage of young adults going to be?’ — has almost nothing to do with whether the law is working or not, whether the premiums are affordable or not, whether people think they are getting a good deal or not,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, whose analysts are closely tracking the measure.
This is anecdotal, but I do know a number of people who have families and were pretty much forced onto the exchanges because their policies were cancelled and the new options were too expensive. That’s not “success”, that’s heavy-handed federal force.
I’m pretty sure those people don’t feel as if they got a “good deal”.