affordable care act
Employee Benefits

What About Obamacaid?

Den Bishop
Den Bishop
Senior Advisor

Public opinion regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, runs hot or cold based largely on political party alignment. The reality is the vast majority of Americans have had no significant interaction with Obamacare. I believe most Americans are largely confused regarding what Obamacare is and isn’t. The recent Republican-failed effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, and the subsequent town hall protests, strengthen my belief in the confusion.

Part of the confusion comes from the name. Whether you call it the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, the names don’t reflect the primary effort of the law which was to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. The insurance market reforms and mandates contributed, but the heart and soul of the ACA is the Medicaid expansion and the subsidy system created within the individual health insurance system. These are government aid programs. Any other name is masking the reality. Had we named it Obamacaid rather than Obamacare then maybe more Americans would understand what the law really is…and isn’t.

According the latest Congressional Budget Office analysis, about 12 million Americans have Medicaid coverage because of Obamacaid and about 9 million more are receiving subsidies through the marketplace…for a total of about 21 million people. The 10-year cost for this coverage expansion is estimated at a little over $1.9 trillion. Meanwhile, we still have about 27 million Americans who lack health insurance coverage.

So, is the coverage for 21 million people worth $1.9 trillion? Is it still acceptable we have more uninsured Americans than those receiving coverage through Obamacaid? Maybe a little name clarity could help us better understand where we individually stand based on the real numbers and issues?

The ACA is a government aid program. There are people who need the financial assistance. Whether it’s this generation or the next, somebody has to pay for it. Seems simple now doesn’t it!

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