Sunday, May 11, 2014

The ACA is here to stay

Republicans are so stunned by the news that total ACA enrollment has reached 17.8 million that they seem to have decided to forget all about Obamacare. Most Republicans no longer mention the word “Obamacare”. Instead, in their hope to distract their base from noticing that they were unable to dismantle Obamacare, they are changing the subject to Benghazi. 

The biggest enrollment number is 8,019,863, which is the total number people enrolled in private Marketplace plans through state-based and federal exchange. Insurers say the percentage of people who have activated their coverage by paying their first premium is 80 to 90 percent – and experts believe it will rise when new policyholders hit their first payment deadline.

In the meantime, the numbers via an HHS press release:

“Importantly, 2.2 million (28 percent) of those who selected a Marketplace plan were young adults ages 18 to 34 — a number that grows to 2.7 million when counting ages 0 to 34, the report found. The report also shows, for the first time, the race and ethnicity of the 69 percent of enrollees in the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces who voluntarily reported this information.

“HHS also announced today that more than 4.8 million additional individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP through the end of March 2014, compared to enrollment before the Marketplace opened last October. 

“More than eight million Americans signed up through the Marketplace, exceeding expectations and demonstrating brisk demand for quality, affordable coverage,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “In addition, over 4.8 million more people have been covered by states through Medicaid and CHIP programs, around 3 million more Americans under 26 are covered under their parents’ plans, and recent estimates show that an additional 5 million people have purchased coverage outside of the Marketplace in Affordable Care Act-compliant plans. Together we are ensuring that health coverage is more accessible than ever before, which is important for families, for businesses and for the nation’s health and well being.” 

The states with the largest numbers of people selecting plans through the exchanges during the six-month open enrollment period included California (1.4 million), Florida (983,800), Texas (733,800), New York (370,500), North Carolina (357,600), Pennsylvania (318,100) and Georgia (316,500). California and New York run their own exchanges. The other five use the federal marketplace. According to the HHS report, the majority of ACA enrollees are white (62.3%) and female (54%). Thirty-four percent of those who enrolled are under age 35, and 28% are age 18-34. 

If we exempt the additional 5 million people who have purchased private ACA-compatible coverage directly from health insurance companies (outside of the Marketplace), the total number of people who now have ACA coverage that likely would not have insurance without the ACA is 12.8 million. That number is for this year – just wait until next year, and the next.  The CBO has said that they believe that by 2016 we will be looking at 25 million to 30 million people enrolled in health plans through the American Healthcare Act (Obamacare).

Republicans have reacted to this news by changing the subject to Benghazi. They have to gin up a scandal to beat the Democrats in 2014 and 2016 since they cannot win an election on policy. These days, Speaker Boehner only wants to talk about the Benghazi emails:

“Someone needs to answer why this administration hid these documents – and tell the American people what else is being concealed. The House used its subpoena power to obtain documents, including emails, last year, but these emails didn’t show up until now, after a court ordered their release to an outside watchdog group. This defiance of the House’s subpoena power is the most flagrant example yet of the administration’s contempt for the American people’s right to know the truth about what happened when four Americans died in a fiery terrorist attack. If the White House will not explain it, Secretary Kerry should come to the Capitol to explain why he defied an official congressional subpoena. And the White House needs to understand that this investigation will not end until the entire truth is revealed and justice and accountability are served.” 

There have already been several investigations that have proven there was no wrong doing other than Republicans cutting the budget by millions for the security of embassies. I think we should go back and investigate the 9 embassy attacks that happened under the Bush administration. Better yet, let's investigate why the Bush administration led us into the Iraq War and why the warnings leading up to the attack on the World Trade Center were ignored.

It is not just John Boehner and the Republican Party; from Fox News to Rush Limbaugh, no one is talking about the ACA (Obamacare) anymore. And since they cannot allow their base to realize that they have failed to destroy Obamacare, they must gin up another bogus scandal as a distraction.  

The ACA is now and forever entrenched into society. We have won the battle. 30 million people have won.