The Obama administration has been bragging that nine million more Americans now have health insurance, thanks to Obamacare. But just like with most numbers cited to support the government takeover of health care in America, that “9 million” figure is deceptive.
We were told that 48 million Americans lacked affordable health insurance and something had to be done, but even five years after the passage of Obamacare, 33 million Americans are still uninsured.
If you dig deeper into the actual numbers and realize what really happened with those 9 million “newly insured”, there’s little reason to cheer.
The number of Americans with health insurance increased by 9.25 million in 2014, the first year that two key provisions of Obamacare took place: the subsidies for coverage purchased through the exchanges and Medicaid expansion. And according to recent research by The Heritage Foundation, out of that 9.25 million, “the vast majority of the increase was the result of 8.99 million individuals being added to the Medicaid rolls.”
In other words, over 97 percent of last year’s newly insured Americans were from Medicaid expansion.
I’ve written extensively about the numerous ways Medicaid fails the poor, and actually traps them in poverty – and Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid makes the difficulties much, much worse.
While Medicaid was originally designed to help needy mothers, children, and the disabled, Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion opened up the program to able-bodied, working age adults, the majority of whom have no dependent children and also don’t work. Adding several million people into Medicaid while failing to address the program’s systemic problems with financial solvency and access to doctors is bad enough. But every dollar spent incentivizing a healthy young adult not to work is a dollar taken away from someone who is truly needy and has no other options.
Even looking at the roughly 3 percent of the newly insured who aren’t part of Medicaid reveals Obamacare’s inherent shortcomings.
There were almost 4.79 million new enrollees in private individual market plans in 2014. However, as Heritage’s researchers noted, 4.53 million people lost their employment-based group coverage during that same time. This leaves a paltry 260,000 people with new private health insurance.
Obamacare has wasted billions of dollars, increased premiums and deductibles on millions of families, and has likely frustrated countless doctors into early retirement. This administration tore apart our country’s entire health care system, all to provide insurance for roughly the number of people who will attend a game at two major college football stadiums this Saturday.
Ronald Reagan once said, “We should measure welfare’s success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added.”
By this standard, President Obama is an utter failure. We’ve added nearly 9 million work-able adults without children onto the welfare rolls – a new entitlement class that has never been eligible for benefits before and in 2013 a record 48 million Americans were also dependent on food stamps – a record high.
This Administration can claim that their domestic policies are a success, but the only thing they’re really successful in doing is trapping millions more Americans in government dependence.
Kristina Ribali is the Senior Coalitions Director for the Foundation for Government Accountability. Follow her on Twitter for the latest on Obamacare. You can also reach her via email at Kristina@thefga.org.