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Obamacare is 5 years old this past week. There have been many articles (such as this one on the economics of the lack of death panels and this one on how Obamacare zombie day never arrived). There are two very interesting articles that offer a fuller accounting of what Obamacare has accomplished.

The first was published in Medscape, an industry publication that goes mainly to physicians (thanks to our librarian Jie Li for calling it to my attention). Using a “by the numbers” approach, it shows how much has changed in 5 years. Some of the more interesting numbers:

37.2 million: Number of Americans who were uninsured in the first 9 months of 2014, a decrease of 23% from 2010, when the ACA was passed.

2.3 million: Number of young adults who gained coverage from 2010 through September 2013 by staying on their parents’ health insurance plan up to age 26 years

30,700: Jobs that Alabama would have gained each year through 2020 if it had expanded its Medicaid program.

900,000: Number of Americans whose individual or employer-sponsored health policies were cancelled for 2015 because they did not comply with the ACA.

$7.4 billion: Drop in uncompensated care for hospitals nationwide in 2014 resulting from ACA exchange coverage and Medicaid expansion.

87%: Percentage of 2015 enrollees in ACA exchange plans in the 37 states using who receive a premium subsidy in the form of a tax credit.

$3960: Average premium subsidy (annual) in 2015.

$15 billion: Amount saved so far by 9 million Medicare beneficiaries receiving prescription drugs as a result of the law’s shrinkage of the infamous Part D “doughnut hole.”

Yeah, you say, but at what cost? Turns out, less than government was paying before:


The second article of interest is a “fact check” on a statement President Obama made while celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the bill:

The Affordable Care Act is “a major reason why we’ve seen 50,000 fewer preventable patient deaths in hospitals.”

To make a long story short, the answer is that this statement is correct and is the consequence of the improvements in quality dictated by the ACA.

The question has to be why only a 41% approval after 5 years when it is reducing costs and improving quality? Maybe people are disappointed that the death panels are working in reverse?

26%/12%: Percentages of Republicans and Democrats, respectively, who said in March 2015 that an ACA government panel helps make decisions about patients’ end-of-life care. As in a “death panel.”