Obamacare Not Exactly a Home Run, According to Poll
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) As we enter the beginning of baseball season, one thing we know for certain - Obamacare did not lead off with a home run. Quite the contrary, it leads in errors - and the manager, Kathleen Sebelius, was canned.
Far from being the success the White House said it is, the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly known as Obamacare, has made no improvement in providing for the uninsured when compared to the last months of the Bush administration in late 2008 - indeed it is much higher than it was in 1987, during the Reagan administration. Reducing the uninsured was the major motivation for revamping the America's healthcare system.
A new survey by the Gallup organization indicates that the number of Americans without health insurance is still slightly higher than it was in 2008 in the months before Obama took office - despite the increase in Medicaid recipients because of Obamacare. Medicaid probably added millions to its enrollment due to its expansion, said Gallup's researchers. They noted that "....it remains unclear how many were previously insured and moved to Medicaid as a less expensive option."
Furthermore, Gallup observed that the decline in the percentage of uninsured during the first quarter because of the effects of expanded Medicaid eligibility policies. But Gallup stated explicitly that it "....is also likely, in turn, that not all new enrollees will ultimately pay their insurance premiums, which would result in a subsequent change in status from insured to uninsured at some point later in 2014."
The White House meanwhile is trying to put a good spin on the numbers. The Obama administration is pointing to a decrease in the number of uninsured, since early 2009 when Obama first took office, as a success. But they ignore that the number is higher than it was during the Bush administration - and much higher than during the Reagan years.
For example, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the lowest percentage of uninsured Americans during the past quarter century was 12.9% in 1987. The rate then increased to 15.8% in 1998 during the Clinton administration. It decreased the following year. During the Bush administration the low for uninsured was 13.5% in 2001 and the high was 14.9% in 2008.
By contrast, during the Obama administration the number of uninsured has been the the highest it has been in the last quarter century by as much as half. It was 18% in 2013. So any decrease would be an improvement. But the 15.6% quoted by Gallup is still higher than Obama's previous low of 15.4% in 2012.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has not yet released its April enrollment report, Gallup said in its release, but the survey's results are usually in step with what the government reports.