A couple of weeks ago, the Commonwealth Fund released the results of a poll of people who have decided to take the plunge and actually dare to enroll in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. One of the most surprising results -- well, "surprising" if you weren't paying attention to what the ACA actually did -- is that 74 percent of those who are newly insured said that they liked their plan.
Just to be clear, that wasn't 74 percent of all Americans...no, that was 74 percent of Republicans who were newly enrolled with health insurance who said they were happy with their coverage. Keep in mind that these are members of the same party of Congressmen who tried to repeal the ACA over 50 times.
Overall, 73 percent of Americans who bought health insurance under the law said they were "somewhat or very satisfied" with their new coverage. Even more, that number jumped to 87 percent of people who enrolled under Medicaid.
And for all the tales of outrage over a very small percentage of people who couldn't keep their old plans (bad plans that provided little actual coverage), the poll showed that 77 percent of those who had had insurance previously -- "including members of the much-publicized group whose plans got canceled last year" -- said they were in fact pleased with the new coverage they now have.
(It also turns out that the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped over the past year from 36 percent down to 23 percent. So, the main purpose behind having the law turns out to be working. Furthermore, the average rate of the country's poorest citizens who were previously uninsured has dropped from 28 percent all the way down to 17 percent. That's the good news. The bad news is that drop is only in states that expanded their Medicaid coverage under the law. In states that have turned down expanding Medicaid, that rate of uninsured among its poor has remained around 36 percent. So, alas, though these latter are basically in Red states, that means their citizens aren't able to be as happy as 74 percent of their fellow Republicans who live in Blue states.)
I must admit that I wasn't surprised by the results. In part I wasn't surprised because...well, because I actually did pay attention to what "Obamacare" was and saw it was a really good thing. But in part, too, I wasn't surprised because I've repeatedly seen how it worked in Real Life. I've seen it in my monthly bills, which I've written about in the past, and I've seen about it in a procedure I recently went through.
A couple months back, I'd made an appointment with a doctor for the procedure, but when I found out that he didn't accept ACA coverage, I switched the appointment to one of his partners in the clinic who did accept the health insurance I had.
When the bill arrived, the total amount was for $745. The amount that I owed was...$89.
I just figured that most people would be happy about something like that.
Mind you, I know that my experiences aren't the same as all people who have ACA coverage. Some some plans cover the same procedures different. Some plans have different deductibles. Some doctors charged differently. Lots o' differences. The issue here, though, isn't the specific costs. The issue is -- under the Affordable Care Act, the amount of payment due plummeted.
And when I heard about there would be this new poll...I just figured that most people would be happy about something like that.
Even, as it turned out to be the case, Republicans.
Finally, something other than a love for pizza has brought Americans together. Happiness over their helath coverage with the Affordable Care Act. Go figure.
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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