One of my favorite political blogs, Eclectablog, points out an interesting statistic:
When Bill Clinton left office and George W Bush was sworn in, the number of people without health insurance in the US stood at 38.4 million (a number which would have been zero if the Clintons had succeeded in passing single-payer health insurance). By the time Bush left office that number was 46.3 million, an increase of 20.6%, or nearly 8 million people. Most of this was due to Dubya’s Great Recession causing people to lose their jobs, and thus their health insurance.
But using numbers from a new Gallup Survey, between 10 to 11 million Americans gained health insurance in just the first half of 2014. And this includes only people who now receive health insurance for the first time.
That’s right. It took only 6 months for Obamacare to (more than) reverse the health insurance disaster from Dubya’s eight years in office.
So of course the GOP wants to take this away from us.
Just like the post about marijuana legalization, I have to bring up objections to questionable uses of statistics that support causes I support. Here’s the link to the Gallup writeup on the story: http://www.gallup.com/poll/171863/exchanges-close-americans-newly-insured.aspx
To be clear, the numbers are not about having insurance for the first time. Rather, the poll is based on self-reporting from people who got “health insurance this year and who did not have it last year.” Also, the 10-11 million number is reported in the poll as 5%. That is split up into those getting insurance through the exchanges (2.8%) and those through other means (2.2%). Furthermore, even with the enrollment surge, the 13.4% uninsured rate leaves about 42 million uninsured.
In other words, the more complete story would be this: From Obama’s inauguration until a year ago, the number of uninsured increased from 46 to 52-53 million. (Queue the normal arguments here about who caused the recession, who failed to make it better, who interfered, yadda yadda. I’m only focusing on absolute numbers right now.) As a result of ACA exchanges and improved economic factors, the number has now dropped to 42 million.
But here’s the final, real key good point: When Clinton left, the 38.4 million constituted 13.6% of the population. So while the current number is higher in absolute numbers, it is (barely) lower when adjusted for population growth. So, YES, the ACA was a significant contributing factor in undoing the effects of the Bush presidency. However, it is not sufficient (as such, eligibility should be expanded for the next open enrollment) and it is not the entire source. Despite those details, YES, this is GOOD NEWS.