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Obama's signature on Affordable Care Act
President Obama's signature on the Affordable Care Act.

The Sunday New York Time's editorial page celebrated the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act by detailing some of its achievements, even ahead of its full implementation next year. That includes:
  • Some 6.6 million people ages 19 through 25 who have been able to stay on their parents' insurance plans and more than than 3 million young adults getting health insurance.
  • 17 million getting some kind of free preventive service, like flu shots, and 34 million Medicare recipients getting free preventive services in 2012;
  • 17 million children with pre-existing conditions being protected against being uninsured;
  • More than 107,000 adults with pre-existing conditions finally having insurance under the federally run insurance program;
  • 21 million received care from expanded community health centers, 3 million more than previously served;
  • $1.1 billion in rebates, an average of $151 per family paid by insurers that failed to meet the benchmark of 80 to 85 percent of premium revenues on medical claims or quality improvements;
  • Since 2010, more than 6.3 million older or disabled people have saved more than $6.3 billion on prescription drugs;

Beyond that, as the editorial notes, the annual growth of health care expenses has declined sharply, both in private care and Medicare. But the focus on quality of care seems to be working. "The percentage of Medicare patients requiring readmission to the hospital within 30 days of discharge dropped from an average of 19 percent over the past five years to 17.8 percent in the last half of 2012." That's largely because Medicare can impose penalties now for poor performance, but can also pay incentives for quality care.

Not a bad track record for the first three years, before the meat of the reforms kick in. What's particularly important—and so far ignored by policy-makers—is the real slowdown in the growth of health care costs. It suggests that Medicare isn't a hair-on-fire emergency right now, and that any changes to it should be dealt with outside of deficit grand-bargaining. It's not an immediate crisis.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 01:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There are a lot of benefits that (11+ / 0-)

    are behind the scenes, not visible to most of us layman, that ACA accomplished also.

    The law did not just make healthcare available to millions more Americans - that alone would have made it worthwhile.

    The law also tackled the fundamental cost of providing care, and improving the quality of care.

    ACOs will link hospitals and independent physicians, improving communication via shared medical records and reducing redundant tests.  Example: we used to have to do an x-ray at the hospital, then when we got referred to a specialist, he/she would need a separate x-ray.

    Electronic health records will reduce medication errors, and make our record available instantly for access by our own primary doc, but also to an ER we go to when on vacation, avoiding medical errors, drug interactions, and potentially save lives.

    I could go on and on.  The bottom line is, it's a BFD, and something we should all be thrilled we finally did.

    Now for the next evolutionary step: the public option.

    •  I Think It Also Caused Medicare to Meet Simpson- (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jj32, hayden, Creosote

      Bowles targets for it, should that atrocity become part of the grand bargain.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 01:52:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm most enthused about the Electronic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dharmafarmer, hayden, Creosote care records project. This, alone, will move the US 25 years into the future. Now, like all other developed nations -- the US will be able to benefit from the World Health Organization databases in real time.

      Patient outcomes could improve enormously, and billing terminology will now be world-class and standardized -- making the "big-profit" parts of the US system more efficient and fraud-proof.

      Too bad they are all immune from the nation's antitrust laws, or we could put them in chains, year one.

      Ah well, corruption. You can live with it, and you can't live without it, either.

      Denial is a drug.

      by Pluto on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 02:00:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a health care provider and (8+ / 0-)

    a huge cheerleader for ACA, I am eagerly awaiting it's full implementation. I have frequent discussions with patients, when appropriate, about what benefits they already have and what benefits lie ahead. I am still stunned, more often than not, at what people DON'T know at this point. The provision to keeps adult children on insurance until 26 seems to be a great success. It is the benefit that most people are aware of, and are taking advantage of. But NO ONE seems to know that, starting Oct 1, they will be able to select good insurance through the health care exchanges. Bottom line, there is a lot of work ahead and the forces against it will be fighting a guerrilla war the whole way.

  •  thanks for reporting on this (3+ / 0-)

    this is quite valuable information.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 02:16:01 PM PDT

  •  I wonder at what point people (4+ / 0-)

    will realize that having insurance is like having a tapeworm with a habit? Why pay a tax of 20% to private sector paper pushers?

    If Medicare can sort through paying for services, then why do we need the parasitic middleman for younger people?

    We should lower the Medicare age until it reaches -1.

  •  There were 3 to 4 independent reports (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wildthumb, 417els, SoCalSal

    that suggested when fully implemented, the ACA would in fact substantially reduce health care costs.  We're seeing some evidence of it right now just with some changed incentives.  We don't need a grand bargain to fix health care.  

    I think the only reason Obama wants a grand bargain is to be able to expand domestc investment in education, training, infrastructure and green jobs, and to rewrite the tax code to incentivize that type of activity instead of paying economic rent to old dinosaurs like the oil lobby and the sugar industry  He believes that a tradeoff like that can get the GOP on board for structural reforms.

    I don't think the President is necessarily wrong about that and he has a decent chance of getting something along these lines done over the summer as the impact of the sequester and the start of the 2014 election cycle converge upon the GOP, especially Senate candidates.  For example, if Herseth Sandlin were to run in SD, she would be pretty effective at using the sequester against the GOP to retain that seat.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Mon Mar 25, 2013 at 10:28:08 PM PDT

  •  Obama has done nothing! Nothing! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wildthumb, Fogiv

    Lalalalala, not listening!

    Business doesn't distinguish between making money and taking money.

    by Troubadour on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:07:31 PM PDT

  •  But (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


  •  Thanks for this diary. When the concrete benefits (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    417els, Diogenes2008, Fogiv, Janet 707

    are actually listed, perhaps we can judge this Act a little more fairly than it has been here or elsewhere.  

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:12:52 PM PDT

  •  Decline in expenses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    417els, SoCalSal, DSPS owl

    "Douglas Elmendorf, Director of the CBO, noted that while much of the savings are the result of a loss of wealth due to the recession. But, for the first time, Elmendorf was willing to say that a ‘significant part’ of the savings are the result of structural change in how healthcare is now being delivered."

    •  Let's be objective (5+ / 0-)

      (Putting on my consumer advocate hat)

      It's a decline in the growth of health care some health care costs.

      So, yes, health care costs are still rising, just not as much as before.  We need improvement.

      The high risk insurance pool has been great for those who could afford it. Again, we're stuck with a screwed up patchwork because we let the states pick and choose how to spend the money, usually to the detriment of consumers. I personally know of a lot of cancer survivors who can't afford it.

      High risk insurance pool has closed, because it ran out of money.  Yes, it was nice to have it, but that doesn't help all the cancer survivors who can't afford health insurance.

      It's not doing well in rural areas, I've gotten quite a few emails from providers in those areas.  The money is not filtering out to them or their patients, whether for electronic records, free clinics, preventive care, etc.  They just have a different set of issues out there, but people in rural areas get cancer just like they do in urban areas and they still die and/or go bankrupt from lack of affordable cancer diagnosis and treatment.

      Our state is prepping for a privatized Medicaid expansion, which will likely make coverage too expensive for most uninsured cancer patients.   And they will...yep, you guessed it... they'll die.

      The growth of state level Rube Goldberg systems being patched together is a mess.  Congratulations if you live in a good state and don't have cancer.  I'm glad this is all working out well for you, but please try to think of those less fortunate.

      Cancer care is a tragically accurate laboratory for how well these reform efforts work.  They truly are the canaries in the coal mine.   As one former WH staffer told me, cancer patients are the last people anyone wants to cover, whether private or public insurance.

      Sorry to rain on the parade, but all of the uninsured cancer patients I talk to every week asked me to speak out on this.  

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:59:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can blame (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Janet 707

        the right-wing wack-a-tudes that people continue to elect to office for not reaping benefits they could have access to.  

        And how about those who continue to vote against their best interest by continuing to elect clowns like Cruz, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, ect., who vote against legislation that would benefit the people they are supposed to represent?  

        •  About 1,670,000 new cancer cases (4+ / 0-)

          are diagnosed every year in the US.

          About 580,350 people die from cancer in the US every year.

          That's 1,590 people dying from cancer every day.

          About 12% of those newly diagnosed are uninsured or underinsured.  

          Placing blame doesn't help. Its better to just fix the problem by raising awareness.

          It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

          by Betty Pinson on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 10:13:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Those Pesky, Inconvenient Facts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    have an Amazing way of putting things into Perspective.

    It turns out that the Repugnicants Whining and Wailing
    about the ACA is just as Imaginary as their argurments
    regarding the Deficit.

    Could we Print several Million Copies of that Article
    and send them to the Wingnuts and Teabaggers?

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:21:47 PM PDT

  •  oh! mcjoan! no you dih-int! (0+ / 0-)

    New York Time's???

    dK is the last place with editing standards!  please fix!!!  :-D

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 08:52:04 PM PDT

  •  Great to hear, thanks Joan. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Really nice, but also very serious about his job." Jackie Evancho on President Obama 6/7/12

    by BarackStarObama on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 09:51:23 PM PDT

  •  The rumor mill at work is going overtime. (0+ / 0-)

    Rumor #1 is that our hours are going to be cut at work.  As adjunct instructors who work 7-9 hours/week for each three-credit course, this means that we would be restricted to three courses.  Unless the hourly rate increased, these wages would be well under poverty.  

    My guess is that Republican-leaning businesses are counting on this to force an outcry against Obamacare to bring about a Republican victory in 2014, should this be the case.  (My college is a state institution in a Republican state.)

    Any suggestions for organization?

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 11:11:19 PM PDT

  •  My Regence Blue Shield premium (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paulie200, kareylou, holocron

    has gone up 10-15% every year for the past three. I'm tapped out and will soon have to give it up. So... For profit health insurance is "available" to me. I just can't afford it.

    The law, in its majestic equality, gives the rich as well as the poor the right to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to eat dumpster donuts. - With apologies to Anatole France

    by chuckvw on Tue Mar 26, 2013 at 11:22:06 PM PDT

    •  Rec' in sympathy. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Janet 707

      But how much of that is due to Obamacare?  It's not like medical costs weren't doing close to double digits for many years.

      And, theoretically at least,you'll be paying less in other ways, such as taxes.  (No, I'm not gonna' guarantee that one ;)

      And even if nothing else, you should get a warm fuzzy feeling that people who were suffering are now getting relief.

  •  Beautiful, wish it fit on a bumper sticker... (0+ / 0-)

    to counter the idiots who are attacking it with bumper sticker length messages.

  •  The biggest fights I have ever had with GOP (0+ / 0-)

    on-line debaters is over Healthcare and Unions.  Take your pick on which one sends them over the edge.

  •  I Love it When a Plan Comes Together! (0+ / 0-)

    It. Is. Working.

    Is it perfect?  Hell no!  But its working, and its not even fully implemented, and can be continuously improved upon.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: []

    by Beetwasher on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 05:07:58 AM PDT

  •  just a fix on wording (0+ / 0-)

    "free preventive service"

    nothing is actually free.

  •  Public Option (0+ / 0-)

    Medicare for All.

    'nuff said.

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