Horowitz: Obamacare - Here to Stay and on the Right Track
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The success of this first period of open enrollment, which ended April 1, came despite the initial serious difficulties with the website and aggressive and well-funded efforts to dissuade people from signing up. According to the White House, other features of the Affordable Care Act have resulted in health care coverage for an additional 6 million people and counting: 3 million young adults who can now stay on their parents' plan until they are 26; and 3 million more people enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Since one can enroll at any point during the year for these programs, the numbers will continue to increase.
Further, 28% of the people who purchased private insurance through the exchanges are between the ages of 18 and 34. This is substantially lower than their 40% share of the population, but in line with insurance company estimates and comparable to the first year of the successful Massachusetts program. Boding well for keeping down increases in premiums in future years, 5 million more people are now enrolled in plans that meet Affordable Care Act standards outside the exchanges. By the requirements of the new law, this additional pool of people must be factored in when insurance companies set premiums for next year..
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now estimates that twelve million more people will have health insurance in 2014 due to the new law. This is a factual rejoinder to the repeated arguments by conservatives that the number of net new people insured was going to be slight or non-existent due to people losing their existing insurance policies because they did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
It will take a while for public opinion to catch up with Obamacare’s success. While there has been a significant improvement in approval for the law since its low water mark just after the disastrous role out of the federal website, it remains unpopular. And it is particularly unpopular with the older and white voters that make up a disproportionate share of the electorate in Congressional mid-term elections.
The long-term picture, however, looks quite favorable. As with any comprehensive reform, tweaks and changes are needed. But over-all, it is working as envisioned, providing access to quality health care to many more Americans and assisting in putting the breaks on health care costs. It is a consequential accomplishment—one worth all the extensive political capital the President has spent and continues to spend on it.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.
Related Slideshow: 16 Questions for President Obama
With the announcement that President Barack Obama will be giving the commencement address at Worcester Technical High School's graduation in June, GoLocal asked elected officials and community leaders in Worcester if they had the opportunity to ask the President one question -- what would it be, and why?
"Mr. President, you're here to highlight a successful vocational tech high school -- what can you do as President to lead to more voc-tech opportunities for students across the country, and help bring the resources to help make that happen?"
"Mr. President, Democratic and Republican Senators and Congressman describe you as aloof and dis-engaged, more interested in "The View" than in their views. Are you aloof and disengaged?
Why: "The reason for the question is to challenge the President to become more engaged with the legislative branch. If he did so, he could forestall his inevitable slide toward lame-duck status."
Tom Finneran, Former Massachusetts Speaker of the House of Representatives
“What is the role of the Federal government in building an educated citizenry?”
Why: "As states and school districts debate the adoption of national standards in K-12 education, the responsibilities, resources, and powers of the Federal government in the field of education have been challenged. While restricted from direct involvement in student curriculum since the 1960s, the Federal government includes a U.S. Department of Education and plays a critical role in coordinating and funding educational policy. In the President of the United States’ view, what are, and what should be, the limits of Federal jurisdiction in public education?"
Tim McGourthy, Greater Worcester Research Bureau Executive Director
"I don't have an ask, it's more of a statement, and it goes towards creating policy for our public schools. If the President is asking cities and states having to do whatever to conform to education standards, see how it will be funded first, then create policy. I would broach that respectfully."
Tony Economou, Worcester City Councilor
"I would want to ask him why is he supporting Common Core and National standards, doesn't he think the local school boards know whats best for our children and their schools?"
Why: "As a single mom whose daughter is enrolled in WPS, I am very concerned about common core and the deviation from local control into federal hands."
Carol Claros, Nurse, Former Republican Candidate for State Representative
Jordan Berg Powers
"Why are your pushing the same failed education policies of the Bush Administration with a focus on privatization and meaningless bubble tests instead of focusing on the skills that will enable our kids to create their job of the future?"
Why: "Worcester Tech is both the best and worst parts of our education system. It shows that providing quality education is not rocket science, schools need to be well resourced, they need to be fun, relevant to what the kids themselves believe will be their future plans. And Worcester Tech is an elitist institution that fails the promise of universal quality public education that should be available to all."
Jordan Berg Powers, Worcester activist
The Girls' Inc CEO, one of GoLocal's "14 to Watch in 2014," opted to let girls in the program ask their own quetions instead. Here is what Waterman reported for what they wanted to know:
Why is the United States in so much debt?
Do you ever wake up scared that something will happen to your family because you’re the President of the USA?
Why are you sending troops across the sea if it has nothing to do with us or is going to affect our country?
Why are people in debt and what will you do to help them?
What is your life like? Is it fun? Is it tiring?
Is being a president stressful?
Who inspired you to be what you are now?
What inspired you to be the president of the United States?
What middle school did you go to?
What do you like to do in the White House?
How do you sleep at night with everything you have to worry about?
Why did you run for President?
Do you like classical music?
Who do you want your pastry chef to be?
Can you convince my mom to give me an Ipod or a Pandora bracelet?
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