The Obama administration has been bragging that 12 million more Americans now have health insurance thanks to Obamacare. But that “12 million” figure is deceptive.
We were told that 45 million Americans lacked affordable health insurance and something had to be done, but even five years after the passage of Obamacare, 33 million Americans are still uninsured. If you dig deeper into the actual numbers and realize what really happened with those 12 million “newly insured,” there’s little reason to cheer.
The number of Americans with health insurance increased by 9.25 million in 2014, the first year that two key provisions of Obamacare took place: the subsidies for coverage purchased through the exchanges and Medicaid expansion. And according to recent research, in 2016, out of that 12 million, “the vast majority of the increase was the result of 8.99 million individuals being added to the Medicaid rolls.” In other words, more than 97 percent of last year’s newly insured Americans were from Medicaid expansion.
Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion opened up the program to able-bodied, working-age adults, the majority of whom have no dependent children and also don’t work. Adding several million people into Medicaid while failing to address the program’s systemic problems with financial solvency and access to doctors is bad enough. But every dollar spent incentivizing a healthy young adult not to work is a dollar away from someone who is truly needy and has no other options.
Even looking at the roughly 3 percent of the newly insured who aren’t part of Medicaid reveals Obamacare’s inherent shortcomings. There were almost 4.79 million new enrollees in private individual market plans in 2016. However, 4.53 million people lost their employment-based group coverage during that same time. This leaves a paltry 260,000 people with new private health insurance. This the failure of the ACA.
I take exception to your Wednesday editorial, “Sandoval agenda.” It mentions the recent Democratic takeover of the Legislature as “creating challenges” for the governor. This leaves an impression that Gov. Sandoval is some kind of statesman holding down the fort of conservative values.
In fact, Gov. Sandoval has supported tax increases in each of his three legislative sessions, the latest in 2015 being the largest tax hike in Nevada history.
You also stated that Gov. Sandoval should revive the Education Savings Account program. Don’t expect much backbone from this governor. He blew his chance to save the program in the special session last fall, when he still had a Republican majority in the Legislature.
Your editorial further points out that Gov. Sandoval has emphasized job creation during his time in office. However, his record indicates that the only jobs he’s interested in creating are government jobs and private industry jobs for tax-subsidized companies.
You continue to tell us how “highly popular” he is. Admittedly, crisp suits, a nice hairstyle and a good smile go a long way. Anyone who pays attention to his gubernatorial record, however, will find that suit to be empty.