A Different World

50 years after Medicare’s birth, ‘Obamacare’ making Americans healthier, slowing rise in health costs

The much-discussed Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, has been shown to contribute to saving the lives of about 50,000 Americans a year, and since it has become law, helped millions of seniors afford their prescription drugs and provided flexibility for Americans who either wanted to start businesses - but couldn’t before because they couldn’t get affordable coverage in the individual market - or retire.

It has also extended the life of Medicare by about a decade, a program Democrats, Republicans and independents alike seem to love.

Remember when Medicare was supposed to be the death of freedom and the beginning of tyranny? Yeah, me, neither.

Any way, 50 years after the launch of Medicare, we’ve gotten some more news about the ACA.

Premium increases in California have come in at an extremely modest pace - much lower than the usual double-digit increases before Obamacare - after many scare stories about potentially 20 percent and 30 percent spikes:

So for the millionth time: the reason we have the world’s most expensive health care system is precisely because the free market failed.

If conservatives were right and government is the problem, then in all the world’s other advanced nations, where there is much more government regulation of health care than we have, they’d be paying more for their health care than we do. But they spend far less, often with better health outcomes and usually with virtually no uninsured. And after watching this debate for the better part of a decade, I’ve yet to hear a single conservative explain why that’s the case, and how it squares with their beliefs about government and markets. How can it possibly be that government-heavy systems — whether you’re talking about a completely socialized one like Great Britain’s or a system like France’s that combines a basic government plan with heavily regulated private supplemental insurance — work so much better and cost so much less than ours? If you have a religious belief that markets are always right and government is always wrong, it’s just impossible to reconcile.

Read more here.

Oh, and Americans are saying they are in better health, with experts saying some of that positive change is related to the ACA:

Compared with the pre-ACA trend, fewer Americans say they are in fair or poor health, and they are reporting fewer days in which their activity was limited by poor health. The JAMA study was conducted by researchers on behalf of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, which reviewed the findings of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey from 2012 to 2015.

The raw percentage of people saying they were in fair or poor health declined from the law's first open-enrollment period to the second. The study also compared that new ACA reality with the trend lines prior to the health care law; it found that the percentage of people reporting fair or poor health was 3.4 percentage points lower at the end of March 2015 than researchers would have expected if the law never took effect.

Read more here.

Do we even have to remind people about the benefits that would come to South Carolina if our state leaders embraced the law?