Obamacare is working. Over 16 million Americans have gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Since the law’s enactment, over 9 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved over $15 billion on prescription drugs, an average of $1,598 per beneficiary, according to the HHS. In 2014 alone, over 5 million seniors and people with disabilities saved nearly $5 billion or an average of $941 per beneficiary. Seniors are also enjoying new free preventive screenings.
Thanks to Obamacare, health care costs have risen at the slowest rate in 50 years. The average premium for employer-based family coverage rose just 3 percent in 2014 – remarkable considering that more than a decade ago, surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation often surveyed double-digit premium increases for this same type of coverage.
All Americans are enjoying new consumer protections from the worst practices of the insurance industry, like dropping people when they get sick, denying coverage to those with a pre-existing condition, imposing lifetime caps, sticking consumers with exorbitant premium increases of 30 percent or more without justification, or charging women more than men for premiums. These protections are helping protect millions of families from going bankrupt because of medical bills.
And Obamacare is here to stay. In a major victory for America’s health security, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of the Obama administration in King v. Burwell, upholding the premium tax credits that have helped millions of Americans purchase health coverage through the federal insurance marketplace in the 34 states that have not established their own exchanges. 10,000 American lives will be saved every year as a result of the high court preserving these subsidies. The law has now twice been upheld by the highest court in the land as legal and constitutional.
After over fifty taxpayer-time-and-money-wasting attempts to repeal or undermine the law, Republicans in Congress who have been rooting for the ACA to fail since day one should get over it and move on. The CBO tabulated just how costly a mistake repeal would be: $353 billion added to the deficit and 19 million fewer Americans with insurance. Considering Republicans have yet to put forward a single serious alternative that more than a handful of them would support, it’s past time they admit defeat and let the law continue working.
And Republican Governors who have refused to accept federal resources to expand Medicaid in their states are doing their citizens a serious disservice. 21 states have not yet moved forward with the law’s Medicaid expansion, and as a result, millions of low-income people have been locked out of affordable health care. According to a recent analysis from the New York Times, that’s keeping the national rate of uninsured at leasttwo percentage points higher than it would be otherwise. Republicans may think they’re sticking it to the President by refusing these critical resources, but all they’re doing is callously depriving health security to people who trusted them to lead.