Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, before the February 15th deadline on Feb. 5, 2015 in Miami, Fla. 
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

ACA continues to push uninsured rate to historic lows


There is a contingent within American politics that looks for bad news related to the health care system, hoping to prove that the Affordable Care Act is failing. Those folks probably haven’t enjoyed the summer.

Though Republicans’ political antics have pushed consumer costs higher, the system itself is on a winning streak. Higher profits point to a stable market; “Obamacare” has never been more popular; and the number of “bare” counties without participating private insurers has dropped to literally zero, despite some GOP rhetoric to the contrary.

As CNBC reported yesterday, even the latest data on the uninsured rate, by way of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers encouraging news.

The nation’s rate of people without health insurance was at historically low levels during President Donald Trump’s first several months in office, at the same time he was pushing hard for the elimination of Obamacare, new federal data show.

In the first three months of 2017, just 8.8 percent of Americans – or 28.1 million people – lacked health insurance, the CDC said…. There are now 20.5 million fewer people without health insurance than there were in 2010, when Obamacare, as the ACA is popularly known, began taking effect, the agency said.

The full report from the CDC is online here (pdf).

Vox’s report on this, which noted the number of Americans with health insurance has now reached an all-time high, added that the biggest gains in insurance coverage “have been for minority groups and low-income Americans.”

This isn’t to say the ACA is perfect or that improvements can’t be made, but despite years of predictions of failure and various attempts at sabotage, the system is effective and enjoys fairly broad support – which in turn makes it tough to repeal.

I’m reminded of something Ezra Klein wrote in early July: “The Republican failure to craft an effective replacement for Obamacare isn’t an accident. It’s a function of the fact that Obamacare is largely working, and Republicans who spent years persuading themselves and their base it’s a catastrophic failure are now slamming into that reality.”