Recent Gallup Poll Shows This VERY Good News For ‘Obamacare’

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Congress has now voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, 61 times, and undoing the most significant health care reform in this country’s history is a plank in every Republican candidate’s presidential campaign. Despite all this, the ACA keeps coming out on top. Most recently, this Obamacare Gallup poll reports that the number of uninsured Americans has continued to drop:

‘In the first quarter of 2016, the uninsured rate among all U.S. adults was 11.0%, down from 11.9% in the fourth quarter of 2015. This marks a record low since Gallup and Healthways began tracking the uninsured rate in 2008.’

Historically, minorities and those making less that $36,000 a year have had the highest uninsured rates. But the poll shows those numbers are dropping, too:

‘Blacks and Hispanics have experienced the largest declines in their uninsured rates since the fourth quarter of 2013. The rate among Hispanics was 28.3% in the first quarter of 2016, still significantly higher than for all U.S. adults, but down 10.4 points from the fourth quarter of 2013. Similarly, the uninsured rate has declined 9.5 points among blacks over this same period to its current 11.4%.’

What exactly is the Republican issue with the ACA? That is hard to pin down and Republicans have offered little information on what their own approach to health care reform would like besides saying it would open up avenues of competition. Here is how Ted Cruz summed up his take during the January 28, 2016 Republican debate:

‘It should follow the principles of expanding competition, empowering patients, and keeping government from getting between us and our doctors. Three specific reforms that reflect those principles: No. 1, we should allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines. That’ll create a true 50-state national marketplace while will drive down the cost of low-cost catastrophic health insurance. No. 2, we should expand health savings accounts so people can save in a tax-advantaged way for more routine health care needs. And No. 3, we should work to delink health insurance from employment, so if you lose your job, your health insurance goes with you, and it is personal, portable, and affordable.’

Sure, it sounds pretty good when Cruz puts it that way, but as Jordan Weissmann over at Slate points out, this response glaringly omits the issue of pre-existing conditions:

‘Obamacare, of course, dealt with this issue by requiring insurers to cover everybody, while also requiring that every adult buy insurance so healthy customers could subsidize older, sicker ones and balance out the markets. Standard conservative alternatives to Obamacare have gone a separate route, proposing heavily subsidized ‘high-risk pools,’ which amount to special insurance plans for the sick.’

Without a federal mandate requiring health insurance and without preventing insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, it is difficult to imagine any meaningful reform taking place. Maybe that’s why Paul Ryan struggled to explain this very issue on CBS’s “Face the Nation” back in January.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons under Public Domain.