It has been a little over two weeks since the first ever enrollment period in the health care Marketplace closed and despite some preliminary technical difficulties, an estimated 7.1 million people are now enrolled in the Marketplace. This number is similar to the prediction made by the Obama administration and is a tell tale sign that the law has held up to its first promises to get more Americans insured. In fact, the uninsured rate is the lowest it has been since late 2008 before Obama took office. At the end of last year, the uninsured rate was at 17.8% which dropped down to 15.6% at the beginning of 2014 and finally fell to 14.7% by the end of the enrollment period. There has also been an extension to the people who started the enrollment process before the March 31st deadline until April 15th because of the huge influx of enrollees and people trying to access healthcare.gov to get insured before the deadline.
Along with the 7.1 million Americans enrolled in the private marketplace, 3.1 million young adults gained insurance from their parent’s plans.
Another visible healthcare improvement is The Affordable Care Act (ACA) implications on lower income and minority populations. Medicaid enrollment increased by 3 million people from October to February and states that decided to expand Medicaid, on average increased their insured population by 8%. The largest decline in uninsured Americans was the population of “low-income” citizens, who dropped their percentage of uninsured from 30.7% to 27.5%.
In addition to all of these achievements, we cannot forget the impact that ACA has had on women. Now women are able to get health insurance at a reasonable price without having to pay more for or be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions such as prior C-section or domestic abuse survival. Women also have access to the family planning and contraception that they need and now 100 million people have gained the right to free preventive care like mammograms and contraception so that they have the means to live healthy and productive lives.