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A woman poses for photos while holding a placard with her thoughts on healthcare at the White House Youth Summit on the Affordable Care Act in Washington December 4, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama urged Americans not to be discouraged by the rocky roll
On the heels of a new Gallup survey showing a real decrease in the uninsured rate—the lowest since 2008, a second survey shows an even larger decrease. The RAND Corporate has a blockbuster new survey, estimating a net gain of 9.3 million American adults getting coverage.
The survey, drawn from a small but nationally representative sample, indicates that this significant uptick in insurance coverage has come not only from enrollment in the new marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but also from new enrollment in employer coverage and Medicaid.

Put another way, the survey estimates that the share of uninsured American adults has dropped over the measured period from 20.5 percent to 15.8 percent. Among those gaining coverage, most enrolled through employer-sponsored coverage or Medicaid.

That's a 23 percent drop in the share of uninsured American adults, and doesn't include the late March surge of people signing up through the exchanges. Poking yet another hole in Republican talking points, the survey finds that 5 million people did not lose their insurance because of Obamacare, not even 1 million did. RAND says 700,000 people went from the individual market to being uninsured. That's not an insignificant number in human terms, but it's also not the disaster Republicans have insisted it is.

Remarkably, as many as 8.2 million—most of whom were previously uninsured—enrolled for the first time in employer-sponsored plans. Why this happened isn't entirely clear. The individual mandate could have spurred people who had previously opted out of health insurance benefits to see a fatter paycheck to sign up. The law could also have led employers to end the option for employees to opt out of benefits. Economic recovery—more people employed—might count for some of this. Tax credits to small businesses to provide health insurance might also, but that provision has been in effect for more than a year, so it probably can't account for the dramatic recent increase.

But any way you slice it, more people have insurance now than did before the law was fully implemented. And here's an interesting twist RAND also found, consumers might just find their car insurance bill get a little cheaper. RAND estimates that liability costs for car insurance and workers' compensation could be reduced. "For both first-party (1.4 percent) and third-party (1.7 percent) car insurance, RAND projected a decrease in liability costs. Workers' compensation costs are also estimated to decline by 1.4 percent." That's not a lot, but it's an interesting ripple effect of millions of more people having health insurance.

But Kaiser Family Foundation's Larry really makes the most salient point about this study and the others released this week:

Urban, Gallup, and RAND all say the number of uninsured is declining since the ACA went into effect. Now we can debate why and by how much.
@larry_levitt
There really is no question anymore that Obamacare is doing what it intended to do: get more people insured.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by Obamacare Saves Lives and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (49+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:26:32 AM PDT

  •  But Rand Paul said Obamacare is a disaster (7+ / 0-)

    So how can there be a RAND study saying it's working as intended?

    I suspect there is a Kenyan Marxist group behind this somehow. Rep. Issa the ball is in your court. Put Ben Ghazi on hold for a week and get to the bottom of this one.

    Blue is blue and must be that. But yellow is none the worse for it - Edith Sidebottom

    by kenwards on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:41:24 AM PDT

  •  This old seaman smells a turn in the tide. (9+ / 0-)

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 09:44:41 AM PDT

  •  Another reason for an increase in (6+ / 0-)

    employer-sponsored coverage is the availability of ACA-compliant policies at community rated prices for small group insurance.  My parents never offered insurance to employees ranging from 0-10 over the years because it was as bad as the individual market, as well as driving massive headaches.  For instance, they had employees disqualified by the pre-existing condition of having lived in Africa.  My sister's small employer (law firm) did offer such coverage and it was ridiculously costly and high deductible because of the high-risk pregnancies of one partner's wife.

    http://www.acscan.org/...

    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

    by benamery21 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:15:22 AM PDT

  •  I'm still trying (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, rsmpdx, shoeless, Shawn87

    to figure out why people are so surprised about the enrollments.

    It is an enroll or be fined program. Should we be surprised about enrollments?  I mean, wasn't that the problem - that so many people didn't have insurance?  And these people were supposed to enroll, right?

    It's kind of like being surprised that tax returns jump around April 15th. Wow!! Even more people turned in their tax returns!!

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:18:02 AM PDT

    •  I'm not surprised by the enrollments overall, (0+ / 0-)

      but I'm very surprised by the breakdown of the numbers in the RAND study.

      See my comment and links downthread.

      I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

      by rsmpdx on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:53:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lotsa people scratching their heads about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brainwrap

    the RAND study.

    It's potentially a game-changer, with the estimated net increase of 7.2M people getting Employer-Sponsored Insurance. (Some due to ACA incentives, like the individual mandate, some not.) This is a very surprising result to everyone.

    Leading to further uncertainty, the sample size is small, about 2,500, leading to huge margins of error.

    Good discussion, Adrianna McIntyre, The Incidental Economist: RAND’s estimates could rewrite the enrollment story.

    Dylan Scott, TPM: Obamacare Might Be Covering Way More People Than Previously Thought

    I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

    by rsmpdx on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:50:34 AM PDT

    •  this is the bully pulpit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shawn87

      This is what happens when you have a national conversation about an important issue that affects everyone. People pay attention to the problem and take action on their own to address it.

      The Obama administration is terrible at it. So having the prod of the ACA really helped keep the story alive and on people's minds.

      But a more determined Presidency could use the bully pulpit more effectively to address any number of issues. Climate change, immigration reform, income inequality.

      The President doesn't really relish that role, unfortunately. But these studies show that individuals, when given the impetus and tools to focus on an issue will take that issue on.

      (And while the margin of error is large, it's probably not off by ~10 Million -- which is what it would need to be to match the number the pundits were using before these studies came out. That is, zero to negative.)

  •  Ruh Roh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, Shawn87

    Karl Rove and his Whiteboard of Idiocy have some work to do this afternoon.

    They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time. -- Brian Fantana

    by IndyScott on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:53:51 AM PDT

  •  Iowa scares me. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 11:04:36 AM PDT

  •  I was promised Armageddon. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flavor411, shoeless, Shawn87, barkingcat

    Where is my Armageddon? I was promised no more doctors willing to be doctors, hospitals closing left and right, and Mexicans stopping "real Americans" from getting appointments. And furthermore, when is Iowa going to be swallowed into the fiery pits of hell for allowing gay marriage?

    How much longer can the GOP cry wolf before someone calls them on their bullshit scare tactics? Their track record for making predictions is only slightly better than Bill Kristol and Pat Robertson.

  •  I'm one who got on employer insurance (7+ / 0-)

    Remarkably, as many as 8.2 million—most of whom were previously uninsured—enrolled for the first time in employer-sponsored plans.

    I'm one of these. My employer had me classed as temporary (though I'd been there 4 years) and part-time (though I usually worked more than 35 hours a week), and said I was ineligible for benefits. When the ACA started into effect, the employer was spurred to regularize these probably illegal employee designations, and was forced to offer me the benefits offered to its "real" employees. (The employer is, btw, not some small business, but a state government which had been trimming costs by designating many permanent employees as temps. For years.)

    Anyway, my insurance isn't through the exchanges, but it's just as much "ACA" because I'm sure I would never have gotten access to it without the ACA. In fact, everyone in my job category at this employer now has access to the employer-subsidized insurance, and that's probably several thousand.

  •  Everyone should read.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, Shawn87

    this post on ThinkProgress this morning to put a face to the numbers of people hurt by the GOP not expanding Medicaid in its states.

    http://thinkprogress.org/...

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 11:27:19 AM PDT

  •  ACA and the seatbelt law (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TrueBlueDem, rsmpdx, Chas 981

    I remember when the seat belt law went into effect in NY.  No one figured it would have much of an effect.  It was virtually unenforceable, can a cop see whether your seat belt is buckled at 60 miles an hour?  But it was tremendously effective.  Why?  Because it became the thing to do, the good citizen thing to do.  I think the same thing is happening now.  With all the publicity, having insurance is becoming the responsible thing to do.  

  •  goodies, more ammo for the Dems to run (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rsmpdx

    on for re-election or first time!!!

  •  Posted Some of this Elsewhere (0+ / 0-)

    I doubt if the economy has much to do with this since it has improved only slightly since September 2013 and could not have possibly caused an 8% increase in the number of people insured through their companies. The unemployment rate has decreased only 0.5% since last fall and the employment to population ratio has inched up maybe around 0.5% since that time. See attached graphs. It is interesting though that we did have a significant but small drop in the employment to population ratio last fall. This was almost certainly related to the fact that the Republicans tried to destroy the economy once again last fall. However, that drop was very small and could not have caused this. The pertinent graphs are shown below:

    http://data.bls.gov/....

    http://data.bls.gov/....

    One of the more likely possibilities is that the mandate has helped induce more people to get their insurance through their employers. In addition, HIPAA previously allowed employers to deny coverage for up to one year or even one and a half years for those people who were treated for a pre-existing condition 6 months prior to the enrollment date in their plan. This would certainly effect numerous people who had a chronic long standing condition that required regular treatment. I assume that would include people with heart conditions who received regular medication for that condition, many cancer patients, people with mental illness, people with HIV, people with diabetes, and many others. This might prove to be a very large number. Now these conditions cannot be excluded by the insurance company. This would clearly cause many people to forgo insurance policies offered by their employers since why would a person buy health insurance that doesn't even cover the illness for which they really need it.  They would most likely need every penny for paying for all of their expenses for their pre-existing condition which isn't even covered.  See information on HIPAA below for additional information:

    http://www.dol.gov/....

    I also like the couple of comments above which indicated that many small businesses can now afford to offer health insurance since they have now been pooled with numerous other businesses and can't have their insurance costs inflated because of the specific health issues for various employees in that company.  In addition, another commenter indicated that regulatory reform may have forced many employers to properly categorize their employees in the correct manner so that more employees can properly receive their benefits instead of being stiffed by their employer.  SHOP might also have contributed to this increase to a small degree.

    Bottom line is that there seems to be many different factors associated with the ACA which are driving this increase in enrollment in employer subsidized health insurance.  What a pleasant surprise.  

  •  Posted Previously - Links Now Working (0+ / 0-)

    I doubt if the economy has much to do with this since it has improved only slightly since September 2013 and could not have possibly caused an 8% increase in the number of people insured through their companies. The unemployment rate has decreased only 0.5% since last fall and the employment to population ratio has inched up maybe around 0.5% since that time. See attached graphs. It is interesting though that we did have a significant but small drop in the employment to population ratio last fall. This was almost certainly related to the fact that the Republicans tried to destroy the economy once again last fall. However, that drop was very small and could not have caused this. The pertinent graphs are shown below:

    http://data.bls.gov/...

    http://data.bls.gov/...

    One of the more likely possibilities is that the mandate has helped induce more people to get their insurance through their employers. In addition, HIPAA previously allowed employers to deny coverage for up to one year or even one and a half years for those people who were treated for a pre-existing condition 6 months prior to the enrollment date in their plan. This would certainly effect numerous people who had a chronic long standing condition that required regular treatment. I assume that would include people with heart conditions who received regular medication for that condition, many cancer patients, people with mental illness, people with HIV, people with diabetes, and many others. This might prove to be a very large number. Now these conditions cannot be excluded by the insurance company. This would clearly cause many people to forgo insurance policies offered by their employers since why would a person buy health insurance that doesn't even cover the illness for which they really need it.  They would most likely need every penny for paying for all of their expenses for their pre-existing condition which isn't even covered.  See information on HIPAA below for additional information:

    http://www.dol.gov/...

    I also like the couple of comments above which indicated that many small businesses can now afford to offer health insurance since they have now been pooled with numerous other businesses and can't have their insurance costs inflated because of the specific health issues for various employees in that company.  In addition, another commenter indicated that regulatory reform may have forced many employers to properly categorize their employees in the correct manner so that more employees can properly receive their benefits instead of being stiffed by their employer.  SHOP might also have contributed to this increase to a small degree.

    Bottom line is that there seems to be many different factors associated with the ACA which are driving this increase in enrollment in employer subsidized health insurance.  What a pleasant surprise.

  •  Good. I see FOX is "estimating" the number at less (0+ / 0-)

    than 1/2 of the 7million...this won't impress them at all, but it will save lives and that's what it was designed to do.

    You are the product of 3.8 billion years of evolutionary success - Act like it.

    by old mark on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 02:12:50 PM PDT

  •  I don't understand the auto and workers comp thing (0+ / 0-)

    When I used to handle that type of lawsuit, the health insurance carrier (Blue Cross, usually) had a right to get reimbursed out of the proceeds or by workers' comp. In other words, the health insurance was secondary to the liability coverage on the other driver, or to workers' comp picking up the tab. When you go to the hospital, they ask whether it's a workers' comp case, and if so, it will get billed directly to the workers' comp carrier, not Blue Cross.

    Has this changed so that health insurance is now primary? I haven't heard anything like that.

    The only way I can see it making a difference is that some small accident cases or comp claims may not get brought at all, if people can afford to get their injuries taken care of through their health insurance.

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