I had reason to visit the doctor last month and had a small procedure -- not a problem, just part of a regular, planned check-up. Two bills arrived the other day. Under my coverage with the Affordable Care Act, this is how things panned out.
One bill was for $900. The balance that I ended up owing was $165.96.
The other bill was for $927. My portion owed was $33.18.
So, the total of the two bills together was $1,827, and with adjustments, insurance carrier payments, transfer payments and deductibles, I owed $199.14. That's a savings of $1627.86.
Now, to be fair, this was all "in network," so the savings are greater. But then, that's the point of having an insurance carrier and having work done in network. Also, I would have had savings last year, before the ACA -- though the adjustments and deductible would have been totally different. This is a far bigger saving than when I've had the check-up in the past.
It does not come as a shock therefore to see that the Affordable Care Act not only beat its six million sign-up goal, but crushed it with 7.1 million. And then days later it was reported that an additional three million people have gotten health care through Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Program. (The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that this number of Medicaid enrollees will hit nine million by the end of the year.)
The result of the new Gallup Poll therefore follow understandably that the number of Americans who are uninsured has plummeted in a steady drop from an all-time high of 17.1 percent down to 15.6 percent, the lowest in six years.
Continuing to be fair, we don't know the specific breakdown of these numbers yet, most notably how many young adults have signed up, and that's critical for the program's success. But considering how new the ACA still is, and considering the ridicule and predictions of failure heaped upon by it (foolishly) because of a problematic website -- having nothing to do with the law, of course, and that was soon fixed -- and considering the assurances by opponents that hitting the goal of six million sign-ups was a near-impossibility, it's clear that the two biggest talking points for Republicans in the upcoming election are flying out the window.
Love the program or hate it -- or even hate the program for legitimate reasons or because it was developed by That One -- the Affordable Care Act...oh, sorry, "Obamacare...is clearly having a positive impact on its prime goal, to bring health insurance to the millions of Americans who didn't have it. And bring better coverage to Americans who do have insurance. And that, at least, should be considered A Good Thing by everyone. Well, at least by most people...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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