According to John Micek’s reading of a recent Gallup poll on health insurance, Obamacare is “working after all.” In reality, though, Gallup’s findings indicate that the health care overhaul has failed miserably to provide affordable health care.
After the federal government mandated that every individual buy health insurance, and has already shoveled tens of billions of taxpayer subsidies to big insurance companies, 13 percent of Americans still do not have insurance. That’s about as ineffective a government program as anyone could imagine.
Oddly, the uninsured rate (based on this Gallup poll) spiked in 2013—three years after Obamacare passed. The current Gallup poll finds the uninsured rate sits only marginally below where it was in 2008.
Most of the reduction in uninsured (as well as the prior rise in uninsured) is tied to employment. As unemployment drops, so too does the uninsured rate. When unemployment rises, as it did during the recession, there are more uninsured.
Most importantly, there is a difference between health insurance and health care. Loading more people into a government run program like Medicaid offers “coverage” but doesn’t insure quality care or that recipients even have access to a doctor. We’ve reported frequently on the problems in Medicaid, and even the NY Times has taken note that giving someone Medicaid doesn’t mean they can be actually seen by a doctor.
And as Elizabeth Stelle notes, Obamacare imposes new burdens on businesses and workers, resulting in fewer hours and cut wages to avoid or pay fines. Congress is currently working to make these mandates slightly less harmful to workers and our economy.