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Obama health law is a tale of 2 Americas

Posted: August 5, 2014 - 6:06pm
FILE - This March 1, 2014 file photo shows part of the website for HealthCare.gov, seen in Washington. President Barack Obama's health care law has become a tale of two Americas. States that fully embraced the law's coverage expansion are experiencing a significant drop in the share of their residents who remain uninsured, according to an extensive new poll released Tuesday. States whose leaders still object to "Obamacare" are seeing much less change. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, cumulatively based on tens of thousands of interviews, found a drop of 4 percentage points in the share of uninsured residents for states that adopted the law's Medicaid expansion and either built or helped run their own online insurance markets. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)  AP
AP
FILE - This March 1, 2014 file photo shows part of the website for HealthCare.gov, seen in Washington. President Barack Obama's health care law has become a tale of two Americas. States that fully embraced the law's coverage expansion are experiencing a significant drop in the share of their residents who remain uninsured, according to an extensive new poll released Tuesday. States whose leaders still object to "Obamacare" are seeing much less change. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, cumulatively based on tens of thousands of interviews, found a drop of 4 percentage points in the share of uninsured residents for states that adopted the law's Medicaid expansion and either built or helped run their own online insurance markets. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama’s health care law has become a tale of two Americas.

States that fully embraced the law’s coverage expansion are experiencing a significant drop in the number of uninsured residents, according to a major new survey released Tuesday. States whose leaders still object to “Obamacare” are seeing much less change.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found an overall drop of 4 percentage points in the share of uninsured residents for states accepting the law’s core coverage provisions. Those are states that expanded their Medicaid programs and also built or took an active role managing new online insurance markets.

The drop was about half that level — 2.2 percentage points — in states that took neither of those steps, or just one of them.

“Those states that implement the law’s major mechanisms are seeing a significantly greater decline in their uninsured rates,” said Dan Witters, research director for the poll.

Medicaid expansion mainly helps low-income uninsured adults in states accepting it. Insurance exchanges operate in every state, offering taxpayer-subsidized private coverage to people who have no health plan on the job.

Leading the nation were two southern states where the law has found political support. Arkansas saw a drop of about 10 percentage points in its share of uninsured residents, from 22.5 percent in 2013, to 12.4 percent by the middle of this year. Kentucky experienced a drop of nearly 9 percentage points, from 20.4 percent of its residents uninsured in 2013, to 11.9 percent.

Although the poll’s margin of sampling error is higher for smaller states, Witters said Gallup has a high level of confidence that the numbers represent real changes.

The poll found contrasts among states that share a border, but have taken different paths politically on the health care law.

• While Arkansas had the 10-point decline in its uninsured rate, the drop in Tennessee was just 2.4 percentage points.

• The uninsured rate in West Virginia fell 5.7 points after the state agreed to Medicaid expansion, but there was no change for neighboring Virginia, where Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been blocked by a Republican-led legislature.

• Colorado’s uninsured rated dropped 6 percentage points with Medicaid expansion and a state-run exchange, while Utah’s didn’t budge. That state has a federally-run exchange and is still weighing whether to expand Medicaid.

It’s unclear if emerging disparities among neighboring states will start to shift the hardened lines in the political debate over health care. Americans remain divided over Obama’s signature program, with opponents clearly outnumbering supporters.

Robert Blendon, a public opinion analyst at the Harvard School of Public Health, said immediate shifts are unlikely. That’s because negative views about the law are driven by people who already had insurance. They worry that the coverage expansion will raise their premiums or compromise the quality of care they receive.

“Why isn’t the bill more popular?” asked Blendon. “Rightly or wrongly, people who are not directly aided by it are worried.”

The Gallup survey found some coverage gains in several major states opposing the law that were also the focus of sign-up campaigns by the Obama administration and its supporters. Texas saw a drop of 3 percentage points in its uninsured rate, while Florida saw a slightly higher decline.

Some blue states that already had high levels of insurance coverage made little headway. The poll found hardly any change in Massachusetts and Vermont.

In deeply red Kansas, the uninsured rate actually went up by 5 percentage points this year. Witters said Gallup is taking a closer look at that finding, and it’s not clear if it represents an anomaly.

The Gallup-Healthways survey is important because it combines the quick turnaround of media polls with extensive outreach usually seen in government research. Pollsters interview 500 people a day, 350 days a year.

The 2013 margin of sampling error for most states is plus or minus 1 to 2 percentage points, but it is as high as plus or minus 3.5 points for states with smaller population sizes, such as Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, and Hawaii. For midyear 2014 results, the error range increases to as high as plus or minus 5.0 points for these smallest states.

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lachowsj
5424
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lachowsj 08/06/14 - 08:47 am
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Who woulda thunk it?

Arkansas reaps the benefits of the great health care compromise and becomes, on this issue at least, the poster child for bipartisan cooperation.

And this is just the beginning. Future reports will show the overall fiscal benefits. That's when other red states will come aboard, probably with some variation of the Arkansas plan. Ted Cruz's pledge to repeal every word of the Affordable Care Act will sound pretty stale by the time he launches his presidential bid.

InsGuru
5478
Points
InsGuru 08/06/14 - 09:02 am
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1
...

"Future reports will show the overall fiscal benefits."

I'm confused as to how a law that costs us billions of dollars of more debt and isn't a self sustaining program (IE must be supplemented by the goverment) could be "fiscally benefitial" to anyone, maybe you have a different definition of it.

lachowsj
5424
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lachowsj 08/06/14 - 09:33 am
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Dear Confused:

Here is what we know already.

Since implementation of Obamacare, average increases in healthcare costs have been around 1.1%. This compares with an average increase between 1960 and 2010 of 4.6%. In just one example of how these savings occur, Obamacare has built-in incentives to reduce the number of patients returning to the hospital within 30 days of discharge. In the past, hospitals were paid according to procedures performed rather than according to how healthy they made the patient.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that over fiscal years 2013 through 2022, the ACA will reduce the deficit by $109 billion.

Greater access to care as a result of being insured has been shown to reduce mortality, improve mental health, and improve self-reported health status, thus improving productivity and strengthening the economy.

Having portable healthcare not tied to a specific job tends to increase mobility and encourage entrepreneurship.

And finally, having medical insurance greatly reduces the incidence of medical bankruptcy, that is, bankruptcy caused by overwhelming medical costs. A reduction in bankruptcy means an increased assurance that providers of goods and services will be paid, thus stimulating overall economic activity.

conwaygerl
5805
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conwaygerl 08/06/14 - 11:30 am
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lachowsj
5424
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lachowsj 08/06/14 - 12:30 pm
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InsGuru
5478
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InsGuru 08/06/14 - 11:49 am
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Wow so clueless

Average inflation was 4.01% between 1960 and 2010... It's also a known fact that some industries move slightly ahead of inflation and some lag behind... 4.6% is not unresasonable, but now the people we pay to save our lives aren't expected to keep up with inflation?? Excellent...

and CBO bases their figures on current laws, they have to, and that's their job. Many of which aren't sustainable, plausable, or legal for that matter (obamacare is unconstitutional).

I'm glad you can copy and paste from the NObamacare website though, much independant research there.

Here's an itneresting article about it from Forbes (you know, one of the millions private sector companies who aren't in debt, blows my mind why people think the goverment can do things better than private sector, never once has this been proven)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisconover/2012/07/26/healthcare-law-will-...

Source for inflation. http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/

lachowsj
5424
Points
lachowsj 08/06/14 - 12:55 pm
1
5
Clueless like the CBO?

Check out this article from that den of liberals, the Wall Street Journal:
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1000142412788732334240457908131268...
It explains why medical price inflation is at the lowest level in 50 years. The article is dated 13 September 2013 while your Forbes article is dated 26 July 2012.

conwaygerl
5805
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conwaygerl 08/06/14 - 02:18 pm
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the biggest contributor to that

Is drug patents expiring.

InsGuru
5478
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InsGuru 08/06/14 - 02:19 pm
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See above about medical price inflation

It wasn't out of line.... And actually, if you factored in the fact that the majority medical practice increase is due to increasing insurance costs because everyone wants to SUE SUE SUE for no reason and then, you and your peers award the 'poor victim' 4 million dollars, that'll show that 'evil doctor'. no that show all of us, because his insurance is paying that, and insurance just went up for every doctor everywhere, err go their prices have to go up to afford it...

lachowsj
5424
Points
lachowsj 08/06/14 - 08:07 pm
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3
Amazing

Amazing how being happy about good news can get such a pile of thumbs down. The good news for all of you people cutting off your noses to spite your face is that that kind of injury is covered under Obamacare.

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