“This thing is working,” Obama said in reference to the Affordable Care Act. In reality, however, it is unclear from the information the administration has released if the new health insurance law really is entering into force. For example, the Department of Health has not yet made public how many people still don’t have health insurance.
Eight million people insured thanks to “Obamacare,” including many young people: This was the goal Barack Obama announced to Americans, a figure that exceeds what the U.S. administration itself had predicted; it had hoped to reach 7 million newly insured people. “This thing is working,” said Obama, referring to his health reform, the Affordable Care Act, which “is now covering more people at less cost than most would have predicted just a few months ago.”
Of course, the announcement went hand in hand with an open attack on the Republican position; they wish to use the alleged failure of Obama’s health reform as their primary agenda item in the November 2014 midterm election campaign. “… I find it strange that the Republican position on this law is still stuck in the same place that it has always been,” explained Obama. “And I recognize that their party is going through the stages of grief – anger and denial and all that stuff – and we’re not at acceptance yet.”
In reality, however, it is unclear from the information Obama and his administration have released if the new health insurance law really is entering into force. For example, the Department of Health has not yet made public how many of the 8 million newly registered were up until now without health insurance. Many of the newly insured, for example, could simply have changed from their previous health care plan, nullified under the new legislation, to a new plan that the new system offers. Analysts also point out that in order to keep insurance premiums low, at least 40 percent of the newly insured must be young people. The administration, however, has stated that at the moment, the number of insured people between the ages of 18 and 34 represents 28 percent of all those insured.
Obama’s statements come one week after the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Republicans, who have judged her departure as implicit acknowledgement that the reform has failed, have lightly criticized the departure of Sebelius, one of Obama’s most loyal and long-standing allies. With his announcement of 8 million newly insured Americans, Obama seems determined to deny any speculation of possible difficulty, pushing instead the idea that his legislative act, which may well be the most important act he has passed in his nearly six years as president, has been enforced and is meeting its objectives.
There is obviously a logical explanation that accounts for Obama’s focus on the high number of newly registered young people. In order for “Obamacare” to work, it is essential that a high number of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 years – the age group with fewer health problems and a longer life expectancy – register and start to pay into the system. For the purpose of increasing the number of newly registered young people, the administration kept the registration open until April 15, two weeks after the original March 31 deadline. According to analysts, the segment of the population that waited the longest before finalizing registration was the 18 to 34 age group.
Within the next decade, according to federal government estimates, at least 25 million Americans will qualify to receive health insurance under the new program. The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance — those uninsured with be subject to a fine — and has created an online marketplace of health insurance packages from which Americans may choose. The president’s reform has also significantly expanded the range of services offered by Medicaid, the social health care program for low-income households. At least 25 American states have decided not to accept federal funds for Medicaid, a move that Obama has proclaimed as being inspired by “ideological reasons.”
“This shouldn’t be a political football. This should be something that we take for granted, that in this country you should be able to get affordable health care regardless of how wealthy you are,” explained the president.
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