Obamacare Is Working

On a day dominated by all bad news on the foreign affairs front, the US Census Bureau delivered a spot of sunlight: New figures from 2011 show that the new health care reform law is actually working. The percentage of uninsured Americans actually went down, after steep jumps in the previous two years. Over 4 million more people had health care coverage in 2011 than in 2010.

US Census BureauUS Census Bureau

Despite predictions from opponents that Obamacare was going to take away your private health care and force everyone into government coverage, the numbers show definitively that’s not happening. For the first time in a decade, the rate of private health insurance coverage didn’t go down. The biggest beneficiaries of the new law are young people between 19 and 25, whose uninsured rate dropped 2.2 percent. Those figures should only get better as more provisions of the law start to kick in.

The good news on the health care front came along with some less happy developments. Median household income dropped again, by 1.7 percent in 2011, while going up 5 percent for the richest 5 percent of Americans. Median household income is now 9 percent lower than it was in 1999, and 8 percent lower than in 2007, when the economy imploded. Poverty rates were stable, but still depressingly high. Those numbers would be much, much higher, though, but for a host of anti-poverty programs that Republicans have proposed slashing. The Earned Income Tax Credit kept nearly 6 million people above the poverty line ($22,811 a year for a family of four), and food stamps kept another 4 million above the line. Government might not be the answer, but it’s certainly helping quite a bit at the moment. 

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate