With all the poor reporting on the Congressional Budget Office report last week, I was disappointed to see that at times this extended to NRP, even if primarily by more conservative-leaning commentators discussing the report. Therefore I was happy to hear a report on Morning Edition today in which Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne immediately started out by setting the record straight:
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
It’s MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I’m Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I’m Steve Inskeep.
Let’s look for the truth behind some much discussed news about the Affordable Care Act. Congressional forecasters said last week that the law may cause fewer people to work full-time jobs.
MONTAGNE: Critics distorted that finding, saying the law was eliminating jobs. In truth, forecasters were mainly saying that people would leave full-time jobs that they had been keeping for the health benefits. ObamaCare makes it possible for more people to buy insurance outside their jobs in the private market.
Among the many errors I heard over the past week was John Prideaux on the Friday News Roundup on the Diane Rehm show both misunderstand that it is a benefit of the Affordable Care Act that people are freed from the “insurance trap” and fail to recognize that this was a goal from the start. He incorrectly stated that this benefit is “certainly not the one that people, you know, stated when they were backing the Affordable Care.” Allowing people the opportunity to leave their current job was promoted by backers of the Affordable Care Act from the beginning. Currently many people are prevented from retiring in their early 60’s in order to keep medical care. Often a spouse will work in a job the couple does not need primarily for the insurance coverage. Being free to leave a job without losing insurance coverage will also enable people to leave larger companies and to work at small companies or start their own business, strengthening the economy. This will even free up jobs to help reduce the unemployment rate.
The bulk of the report from Scott Horsley was on the unusual situation in this country for health insurance to be tied to one’s job, and how the Affordable Care Act will help change this. They also pointed out how the exchanges are working better:
HORSLEY: In other words, what Gruber calls the crumbling building of workplace health insurance may take a long time to come down. In the meantime, a new building – the insurance market set up by the Affordable Care Act – is slowly taking shape and looking a little less rickety than it did early on. As of last month, more than three million people had moved in.
Mother Jones also summarized the good news which came out yesterday on increased enrollment in the Affordable Care Act:
More Americans enrolled in Obamacare plans in January than expected, according to data released Wednesday by the Obama administration. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had expected to sign up 1,059,900 people last month. Instead, about 1.14 million people purchased health plans through the federal and state health insurance exchanges.
This is the first time since the uninsured started buying insurance on the exchanges in October that the administration has beaten a monthly enrollment goal…
There was also a slight uptick in the number of young adults signing up for coverage in January. A quarter of the Americans who have enrolled so far are young people, who tend to be healthier, and who the Obama administration needs to hold down insurance costs. That’s below the 40 percent target, but the trend is moving in the right direction.
The percentage of Americans who are uninsured hit a five-year low this month, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday. Sixteen percent of adults do not have health insurance, the lowest uninsured rate since 2009.
Despite all the negative news from those who dwell on early glitches and process issues, the Affordable Care Act is turning out to be a tremendous success.