Obamacare Notches Another Win. Are You Tired of Winning Yet?

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I’ve mentioned before that one of the reasons Obamacare signup rates are below projections is because employer coverage is above projections. Back in 2010, analysts assumed that employers would steadily drop health coverage and simply pay their employees to buy insurance on the exchanges. But that hasn’t happened—and that’s a good thing.

Now the New York Times has joined the party, so maybe everyone else will start to get this too:

The surprise turnaround adds to an emerging consensus about the contentious health law: It has not upturned the core of the country’s health insurance system, even while insuring millions of low-income people.

….About 155 million Americans have employer-based health insurance coverage in 2016, according to an analysis released by the Congressional Budget Office last month. The number will fall to 152 million people in 2019, the C.B.O. estimates, but will remain stable through 2026. Slightly more than half of people under 65 will be enrolled in employment-based coverage.

Employers seem to be staying the course even more strongly than they did before the law. The percentage of adults under 65 with employer-based insurance held firm for the last five years after steadily declining since 1999, according to an analysis of federal data released last month by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which closely tracks the health insurance market.

The CDC has been tracking health coverage for years, and their numbers show that private coverage (not including exchanges) has gone up since Obamacare went live. These numbers include both employer coverage and private coverage purchased off-exchange, but employer coverage is by far the biggest component and there’s no special reason to think that off-exchange individual coverage has increased much. This provides a very strong indication that the employer market has stayed healthy, and the CBO report confirms this.

If you want to know how Obamacare is doing, don’t look at Obamacare enrollments compared to early projections. Instead, look at the total uninsured rate compared to early projections. That’s the only number that provides a comprehensive look at all forms of health insurance and how they’ve done compared to predictions. When you do that, you’ll find that Obamacare is actually doing a little better than anyone thought it would.

To paraphrase a prominent politician, I wonder if Obamacare’s critics are tired of losing all the time? If so, come on over to the side of light and goodness. You’ll win so much you’ll get tired of winning.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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