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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Number of People Helped by Obamacare is Far Larger Than the NYT Says

The Number of People Helped by Obamacare is Far Larger Than the NYT Says

Sunday, 20 April 2014 04:59

In an article on the likely political implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the November election, the NYT wrongly implied that the beneficiaries are a relatively small segment of the population. It told readers:

"Democrats could ultimately see some political benefit from the law.  But in this midterm election, they are confronting a vexing reality: Many of those helped by the health care law — notably young people and minorities — are the least likely to cast votes that could preserve it, even though millions have gained health insurance and millions more will benefit from some of its popular provisions."

Actually, virtually the entire pre-Medicare age population stands to benefit from the ACA. Millions of insured people lose their insurance every year, typically because they lose their job. These people will now be able to get insurance through the exchanges, in most cases at prices far below what they would have paid in the individual market previously. In this way, the ACA is effectively giving the insured population security in their insurance that they did not previously have.This is especially important in cases where the reason people lost their job was due to bad health.

This is a huge benefit that is being extended to tens of millions of people who will be voting in November. Due to poor coverage of the impact of the law, it is likely that most of these people do not recognize the extent to which the ACA provides them with security in their insurance coverage.

Comments (6)Add Comment
written by Last Mover, April 20, 2014 9:34

Exactly. In fact it fits perfectly with the right wing conspiracy that Obama created the Great Recession so he could justify Obamacare to provide affordable health care to those who lost it along with their jobs.
Nyt not only misinforms voters who benefits from ACA; it promotes GOP spin.
written by jaaaaayceeeee, April 20, 2014 11:34

Nyt not only misinforms voters who benefits from ACA; it promotes GOP spin.

In September, Chuck Todd agreed that many of the voters who are against Obamacare are misinformed, or even just don't know how the law helps ALL of them. Todd said this is not the fault of the news media, but rather the fault of the president/democrats not selling Obamacare well enough.

Nyt's layered, complex, courtier coverage of the horse race between competing spin even blames the federal government itself, for having eroded voters faith in public programs. Also blamed are President Obama for misinforming the public that they would not lose rip-off, substandard health insurance, if they like it. And those nyt calls centrist Democrats, for demanding market-based health care reform. Not mentioned is that Republicans, not centrist Democrats, proposed market-based reform, then voted against their own proposal.

This nyt article editorializes that Democrats are running away from, and even criticizing Obamacare, while Republicans are succeeding by running against Obamacare.

Social Security is reported as more popular because nearly everyone paid something into the system, as opposed to Obamacare. Apparently, self-reliant beneficiaries of social insurance benefits they never paid into, like Paul Ryan and Craig T. Nelson, don't exist.

The article never explains how reducing the deficit and saving taxpayers money is instead income transfer, from the better off to the poor, and less like social insurance. Those paying to misinform voters for profit (at taxpayer expense) are absent from this news coverage.

Other pundit tools and journanalisticos will read and propagate this nyt analysis of how Republicans will benefit from campaigning against Obamacare.

If other courtiers get sick with envy, they need not die quickly (the Republican health care plan), since conservative charity and wingnut welfare always provides for everyone who falls through the fingers of the invisible hand of free marketiness.
People benefited by Obamacare
written by Jerry Policoff, April 20, 2014 1:12
I am an advocate for universal healthcare, and I take issue with your claim that almost everyone under Medicare age will benefit from the ACA. It appears that more than 80% of people who have signed up for the exchanges have opted for Bronze plans or silver plans. Both have very high deductibles over and above the premiums. Bronze plans carry a 40% co-pay and silver a 30% co-pay. Both have been described as catastrophic coverage by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Most people signing up for these plans will continue to pay most or all of their medical bills out of pocket. Many will avoid treatment because they cannot afford it. On top of that many find themselves in limited networks of care givers, and stricter limits on care enforcced by the insurance companies (that is clearly stated in the new CBO report as a partial reason the premiums are lower than expected, but that part got scant media coverage). Yes, many will benefit from Obamacare, but not all, and perhaps not even most. Many will indeed be hurt by it.
PPACA compares poorly to Universal Healthcare, Medicare For All, Public Option
written by jaaaaayceeeee, April 20, 2014 2:20

PPACA compares poorly to Universal Healthcare (like Medicare For All or the Public Option, for the reasons you cited (it is too much like catastrophic). Then there's all the giveaways (fleecing patients to profit providers wealthy enough to buy giveaways).

Universal Healthcare (like the public option our supposed representatives tanked, for their donors, at our expense) could also provide some real competition to private insurers, since it would cost so much less to provide better health care.

So, you're right about the drawbacks, and I've added a couple more.

The only ways Obamacare/PPACA benefits us all, is that you can no longer have your health insurance cancelled as soon as you need it, be excluded from health insurance for pre-existing conditions, and you can't be denied health insurance coverage by private insurers' fine print caps.

If congress represented consumers instead of predators, PPACA could do even more good (best practices, data, cost savings to reduce deductibles, bulk purchases, incentives against monopoly power). But Congress even killed the public option, so I'm looking to Vermont and other countries to teach voters how much better our lives could be if Congress legislated public policies with the good of voters in mind.
written by urban legend, April 20, 2014 11:25
"The only ways Obamacare/PPACA benefits us all, is that you can no longer have your health insurance cancelled as soon as you need it, be excluded from health insurance for pre-existing conditions, and you can't be denied health insurance coverage by private insurers' fine print caps."

And you don't think that's a big effin deal? You need to think a little about what insurance really means. To anyone with a brain, regardless of limitations in relatively high deductibles and co-pays that mean, in a bad year, you might have to pay as much as $6300 (the maximum out-of-pocket under the law), knowing that you will be able to get 100% coverage against any costs above that if you lose your job, and that you won't be able to be cut off from coverage by a lifetime cap, an annual cap or rescission for excessive claims history should be huge. It is huge for 160 million people who are covered through an employer, 99% of whom are always at risk of unexpectedly losing the job. Sure, the next step to improve what we got should be to re-introduce a public option, and the most politically unassailable version of this would be giving anyone between 50 and 65 without insurance through an employer or Medicaid the right to buy into Medicare. If you don't recognize the gigantic societal benefit in that -- when the biggest reason for bankruptcy filings has been crushing medical costs and people are hanging on to jobs by their fingernails solely to keep health insurance -- you need to think a little more deeply.
Racist comments
written by LaQuetta Brown, April 21, 2014 6:49
Y'all criticizing Obamacare so much because you racist jerks. This is best deal ever for black folks, pays for my health care for me and my 6 kids for $57 a month. He the best President ever, got me my Obamaphone and my welfare checks and my SNAP card and my big section 8 townhouse. You racist snobs need to shut the hell up, cause we got all the benefits we ain't never got since the racist white folks in charge all these years would never give us reparations. You try an shut off Obamacare and we will rise up!

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.