Uninsured Rate Drops to Lowest Level Under Obamacare

Bloomberg: “The share of working-age people without health insurance fell by more than 4 percentage points in 2014, the biggest drop since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began reporting the data in 1997.”

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“Last year, 16.3 percent of adults under age 65, or about 31.7 million people, lacked medical coverage, according to a CDC survey published Tuesday. That’s down from 20.4 percent a year earlier.”

“States that expanded Medicaid through Obamacare provisions had lowers rates of uninsured, the CDC said. In states that didn’t expand Medicaid, 19.3 percent of adults under 65 were uninsured, compared with 13.3 percent in states that did.”

 

Why Is Obamacare Still Unpopular?

Jonathan Cohn – acknowledging that public opinion for Obamacare remains largely negative – suggests that there are some surprising factors driving public perceptions.

“The first and more obvious factor is partisanship … Powerful as it is, the continuing partisan divide cannot tell the entire story. If it did, then the health care law would have a net positive rating, since more Americans identify or lean Democratic than Republican. When Kaiser researchers — again, at HuffPost’s request — tallied more than 8,000 interviews they’d conducted over the course of the year they found that intensity of opinion is much stronger among Republicans than Democrats and that Republicans are more likely to rate the law unfavorably than Democrats are to rate it favorably.”

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“So what’s the mystery factor? The best guess is that people are holding the law responsible for all of the problems of the health care system — including those like rising deductibles, narrowing hospital networks, or even long waits at the doctor’s office that most experts believe have little or nothing to do with the law itself.”

“In retrospect, it’s not surprising that so many people assume the Affordable Care Act is to blame (or, in some cases, to thank) for the changes they are seeing. By enacting such sweeping legislation, Obama and his allies tied their law to everything that happens in health care — good and bad and in between. And by largely avoiding changes that affect most Americans, they gave most people little reason to doubt the cues they get from the news and their partisan leaders.”

Who Will Clean Up the Supreme Court’s Obamacare Mess?

Vox:  “The Supreme Court could rule against the Affordable Care Act in the next few days, creating a huge mess for millions of Obamacare enrollees, with premiums more than doubling and many dropping coverage.”

“Of any actors, the White House would have the strongest motivation to patch the health-care law back together in the event of a the Supreme Court ruling Obamacare subsidies illegal. It has said again and again that it cannot keep subsidies flowing if the case comes out against Obamacare.”

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“The White House does have one possible way to fix Obamacare: signing off on a one-sentence bill that would tweak Obamacare to make clear that all 50 states ought to receive subsidies.”

“‘Congress could fix this whole thing with a one-sentence provision,’ President Obama said at a recent press conference.”

“The problem is that Republicans’ demand, so far, has been repealing other big parts of Obamacare in return for extending subsidies — and that creates whole new messes in the insurance markets.”

But: “When you try to repeal Obamacare and maintain the law’s subsidies, it turns out you end up with some very bizarre policy outcomes that are not good for the individual insurance market.”

Obamacare and Labor: A Good Thing

Paul Krugman: The new CBO report on “the consequences of repealing the ACA is definitely not what the Congressional majority wants to hear. Despite including ‘dynamic scoring’, the report finds, unambiguously, that Obamacare reduces the deficit and repealing it would enlarge the deficit.”

“Is there anything in the report that provides fodder for the opponents? I see that the Times report says that there are ‘mixed effects’, because CBO says that GDP would be higher if the ACA were repealed. And maybe the usual suspects will try to spin it that way.”

“But the truth is that this report is much, much closer to what supporters of reform have said than it is to the scare stories of the critics — no death spirals, no job-killing, major gains in coverage at relatively low cost.”

“In fact, in a perfectly competitive economy the gain would fully offset the fall in GDP: if workers are paid their marginal product, the fall in GDP from the ACA is equal to the lost wages, but workers choosing to work less clearly prefer to have the extra time to the extra wages. Or to put it a bit differently, other things equal it’s a good thing if workers, freed from the fear that they won’t be able to get health insurance, respond by voluntarily working less.”

NOAA: The Hottest Spring On Record

Eco Watch: “This past May was the hottest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). ‘The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for May 2015 was the highest for May in the 136-year period of record, at 0.87°C (1.57°F) above the 20th century average of 14.8°C (58.6°F),’ said NOAA. This breaks the previous record, which was set last May.”

It was also the hottest March to May on record and the hottest January to May on record as well. So, if trends continue, as they are predicted to, this year will surpass last year as the hottest on record.

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As Democrats Trend Leftward, Maybe There’s Hope for Bernie Sanders

Gallup: “Democratic candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination face a significantly more left-leaning party base than their predecessors did over the last 15 years. Forty-seven percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents now identify as both socially liberal and economically moderate or liberal. This is compared with 39% in these categories in 2008, when there was last an open seat for their party’s nomination, and 30% in 2001.”

Left-Leaning Democrats

“Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton faces a more liberal base than she did when she last ran for president in 2008, and no doubt will be calibrating her positions accordingly. The shift in the electorate may help explain the attention being garnered by long-shot candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont who has used the label ‘socialist’ to describe himself and who is avowedly liberal across the board.”

Most Impacted By an Obamacare SCOTUS Ruling Live in GOP Districts

Jonathan Cohn: “A new report suggests the impact [of the Supreme Court Obamacare subsidies case] would fall disproportionately on their own constituents, rather than those in Democratic districts — by a margin of 2-to-1.”

“The research comes from FamiliesUSA … The report’s subject is the potential geographic impact of King v. Burwell, the lawsuit that the court heard in March and on which it is likely to rule by the end of the month.”

“Using Affordable Care Act enrollment data from the Department of Health and Human Services, the organization has estimated the number of people in each congressional district who would lose their tax credits from a court decision against the law.”

“The results? Some 4.2 million of those who would lose tax credits live in congressional districts with Republican representatives, the FamiliesUSA researchers said. Just 2.1 million live in Democratic districts.”

“It’s not at all surprising that Republican districts would have more affected people, since the states where officials wanted nothing to do with Obamacare tend to have more conservative voters. Those are also the states where Republican lawmakers have been able to draw district lines in ways that boost their numbers in Congress. But the ratio of Republican to Democratic voters in these states isn’t anywhere near 2-to-1.”

Which Presidential Candidate is the Most Conservative?

Pablo Barbera in the Washington Post: “One characteristic all candidates share is that they have active and popular Twitter accounts. And as I showed in an article published earlier this year in the journal Political Analysis — now freely available online as an Editors’ Choice article — it is possible to analyze the candidates’ Twitter networks to compute precise ideological scores and thus identify how conservative or liberal each of them is.”

“The intuition behind this method is simple: Citizens prefer to follow on Twitter those political accounts that they perceive to be ideologically close to their own positions.”

The figure above “displays the ideological scores of all declared and rumored major primary candidates as of June 1, estimated using their Twitter networks applying this method. To facilitate its interpretation, I have also indicated the location of a few major news outlets, as well as the distribution of ideological scores for all Twitter users (in black) and for Republican and Democratic members of Congress (in red and blue).”

Majority Wants Congress to Keep Obamacare Subsidies

L.A. Times: “Nearly two-thirds of Americans want Congress to ensure that residents in every state can receive insurance subsidies though the Affordable Care Act, according to a new national poll conducted as the Supreme Court prepares to decide a legal challenge that could strip away the subsidies in more than 30 states.”

“Asked whether lawmakers should pass a law ‘so that people in all states can be eligible for financial help,’ just one-quarter of those surveyed said no, according to the poll by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation.”

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“State action is preferred even by Republicans, who favor a state marketplace over no action, 44% to 42%, despite the fact that the health law remains deeply unpopular with the GOP. Nearly 70% of Republicans view it unfavorably.”