Oct 22, 2014. To make sure Obamacare worked and could pass, Obama borrowed the conservatives’ plan. So Republicans knew it would work if given a chance. Their only hope was to kill it with politics before it could take root. Too late now. In spite of politics and early computer screw-ups, a last-minute surge pushed it past its target of 7 million on April 1, 2014. But what about cost?
Obamacare was stolen from the conservative Heritage Foundation and is essentially what Romney passed in Massachusetts. If the Republicans really thought it would go into a “death spiral” on its own, they would have waited to watch with glee as it did. But they knew the Heritage-Romney design wouldn’t do that. So their only hope was to kill it politically. The billionaire Koch brothers spent a hundred million and the “GOP-led House has voted 47 times to repeal Obamacare. And just last October  the party shut down the federal government in a last-ditch gambit to nix the law.” (The Week).
According to the Gallup Poll (which finds opinions on this are almost completely political), the uninsured rate dropped from 18% to 13.4% during the first enrollment period. That’s a quarter of the way from 18% to zero in just six months — even with all the conservative states holding back (that is, refusing to expand Medicaid). The Heritage Foundation says 8.5 million more Americans are now covered. A truly amazing performance.
But what about costs?
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates (July 2014) that national health care costs will drop from 9.6% to 8% of GDP by 2039. That’s a 20% drop in dollars spent. A far cry from the Republican’s “skyrocketing” costs. A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that insurance costs will actually go down in 2015. That may be because the newly insured include more of a cross-section of healthy folks than the insurers expected — and that’s just the way the Heritage-Romney plan was supposed to work.