The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. The Republicans in the House of Representatives have taken their 50th vote in an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
From the story in Talking Points Memo:
“House Republicans are poised to reach a new milestone as they gear up for their 50th vote to repeal or dismantle Obamacare.
“You know what they say: 50th time is the charm,” mocked President Barack Obama.
The House is set to vote Wednesday on a bill by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) to effectively delay the individual mandate for one year by reducing the penalty in 2014 for not buying insurance from $95 to $0. (Inclement weather in Washington could conceivably delay the bill further.)
The Republican-led chamber passed a similar bill last July, capturing 22 Democratic votes. Now that it’s an election year, it’s plausible that a significant number of Democrats will defect, given the unpopularity of the individual mandate and the likelihood that Senate Democrats will throw the bill in the garbage once it arrives.
It’s the House GOP’s first vote to wipe out a central feature of Obamacare since the law’s major provisions took effect on Jan. 1. For all its rollout woes and negative press, millions of Americans are benefiting from the law and the consequences of full repeal are no longer theoretical. But the dreaded mandate remains an easy target that’s ripe for politicking.”
The Wall Street Journal, hardly a bastion of liberal media, has a different take on the effect Obamacare has on the nation. The Journal’s Jeffrey Sparshott wrote:
“…the law’s expanded coverage boosted Medicaid benefits by an estimated $19.2 billion, according to Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. The ACA also offered several refundable tax credits, including health insurance premium subsidies, which added up to $14.7 billion. Taken together, the Obamacare provisions are responsible for about three-quarters of January’s overall rise in Americans’ incomes.”
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi offered up these 50 facts on ACA in her Gavel blog:
FIFTY ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
- More than 4 million Americans have enrolled in private plans in the Marketplaces.
- 82 percent of those enrolling in the Marketplaces are receiving premium tax credits, making their coverage more affordable.
- Enrollment in the Marketplaces increased by 53 percent in January alone.
- Enrollment by young adults grew by 65 percent in January – outpacing all other age groups.
- Two-thirds of uninsured single adults eligible for the Marketplaces are estimated to be able to spend $100 or less a month for coverage in 2014, once tax credits are taken into account.
- The average premiums in the Marketplaces in 2014 are below the premiums projected by the CBO.
- 3.1 million young adults who would otherwise be uninsured are now enrolled in their parents’ plan.
- Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that nearly 5 million uninsured will gain coverage through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion by 2016, in the states implementing Medicaid expansion.
- More than $19 billion in fraudulent Medicare payments has been recovered on behalf of U.S. taxpayers over the last five years – primarily due to new tools to crack down on fraud in Medicare contained in the ACA.
- Almost $2 trillion in deficit reduction will be achieved over the next 20 years, according to CBO.
- Healthcare spending is growing at the lowest rate in over 50 years.
- Although not solely due to the ACA, 8.4 million private sector jobs have been created in the 46 months since enactment of the ACA, in contrast to the 3.8 million private sector jobs lost during the decade before ACA enactment.
- The 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions can now no longer be denied coverage or charged higher premiums because of their pre-existing condition – including up to 17 million children.
- Women can now no longer be charged higher premiums just because they are women.
- Workers with physically demanding jobs can now no longer face higher premiums because of their occupations.
- For the first time, coverage in the individual market is guaranteed for people when they need it most – it cannot be denied or rescinded.
- For the first time, in the individual market, health plans are required to cover key essential benefits like hospitalizations, mental health, and prescription drugs.
- 105 million Americans no longer have a lifetime dollar limit on their coverage.
- 71 million Americans with private insurance now have access to many free preventive services.
- Nearly 30 million women with private insurance are now receiving free coverage for comprehensive women’s preventive services, including well-woman visits and gestational diabetes screening.
- 34 million seniors in Medicare have already received one or more free preventive services.
- 4.4 million seniors in Medicare have had a free Annual Wellness Visit.
- More than 7.3 million seniors in the ‘donut hole’ have already saved $8.9 billion on their prescription drugs, an average savings of $1,209 per person.
- The life of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended by nearly 10 years, until 2026.
- Medicare Part B’s premium will not increase in 2014 and the last five years have been among the slowest periods of average Part B premium growth in Medicare’s history.
- Medicare Part B’s deductible is actually decreasing in 2014.
- The average Medicare Part D premium is projected to be $31 per month in 2014, holding steady for four years in a row.
- Since enactment of the ACA, average Medicare Advantage premiums are down by nearly 10 percent.
- Between 2010 and 2012, Medicare per beneficiary spending rose by only 1.7 percent annually, dramatically more slowly than the period between 2000 and 2009.
- Medicaid spending per beneficiary actually dropped by 1.9 percent in 2012.
- As a result, according to CBO, Medicare and Medicaid will now spend $700 billion less over the 10-year period 2011 through 2020 than previously projected.
- Hospital readmissions in Medicare have fallen for the first time on record, resulting in 130,000 fewer hospital readmissions between January 2012 and August 2013 alone.
- More than 360 Accountable Care Organizations have been established, serving 5.3 million Americans with Medicare. In the first performance year, the program produced higher quality care and lower Medicare expenditures.
- 360,000 small employers have already used the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help provide health insurance to 2 million workers.
- Overall, over the last two years, consumers have saved a total of nearly $5 billion due to the ACA provision requiring insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on care for patients (rather than CEO pay, profits, and administrative costs).
- In the summer of 2013, 8.5 million Americans received $500 million in rebates from their insurance companies, because their insurers failed to meet the standard of spending at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care.
- Insurance companies now have to publicly justify any premium increases they are seeking that are over 10 percent. These proposed increases can then be publicly deemed to be “unreasonable” by health care experts.
- The health care law’s rate review provisions have already helped save Americans an estimated $1 billion on their premiums.
- Since the rate review provisions took effect, the share of double digit premium increases requested by insurance companies plummeted from 75 percent in 2010 to 14 percent in 2013.
- The ACA is strengthening our Community Health Centers, with investments of $11 billion over 10 years to improve and grow the centers, which are providing high-quality preventive and primary care to more than 21 million patients across the country.
- The ACA has expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits and federal parity protections for approximately 60 million Americans – representing one of the largest expansions of mental health and substance use disorder coverage in a generation.
- The health care workforce will be more diverse due to a near tripling of the National Health Service Corps.
- 7.3 million African Americans with private insurance now have access to many free preventive services.
- More than 500,000 African American young adults who would otherwise be uninsured are now enrolled in their parents’ plan.
- About 10.4 million African Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on their coverage.
- Six in ten uninsured African Americans may qualify for Medicaid, CHIP, or lower costs on monthly premiums in the Marketplaces under the ACA.
- 8.2 million Latinos with private insurance now have access to many free preventive services.
- 913,000 Latino young adults who would otherwise be uninsured are now enrolled in their parents’ plan.
- About 11.8 million Latinos no longer have a lifetime limit on their coverage.
- Eight in ten uninsured Latinos may qualify for Medicaid, CHIP, or lower costs on monthly premiums in the Marketplaces under the ACA.