SHOCKER: People prefer to have healthcare coverage than to not have it
OK, kind of a snarky headline I realize. This is actually a very good article by the Washington Post's Jason Millman, which goes beyond the actual number of people newly added to the Medicaid rolls since January thanks to the Affordable Care Act (by my count it's up to around either 6.5 million or 9.7 million, depending on whether you include "woodworkers" or not), but the quality of that coverage.
The good news is that, unsurprisingly, people are pretty relieved to finally have decent healthcare coverage, in many cases for the first time in their lives:
The Medicaid program, already the nation's largest insurer, has quickly added millions to its rolls since the start of Obamacare's coverage expansion. And it appears that Medicaid enrollees are generally happy to have coverage, though many are encountering roadblocks to receiving the care they want, according to new research that provides one of the earliest insights into people's experiences under the expanded health insurance program for low-income Americans.
The bad news is that, as noted above, most doctors refuse to take new Medicaid patients since the reimbursement rates are so low:
...The enrollees' biggest problem has been finding a primary care doctor, which has been a major concern in the health policy community. A Health Affairs study found just one-third of doctors in 2011 would take new Medicaid patients, and this problem was greater in states with lower Medicaid reimbursement rates. It's also why the Affordable Care Act temporarily boosts traditionally low Medicaid reimbursement to primary care doctors as the program expands.
There are some other gripes listed as well, but in the end...
Issues aside, the Medicaid enrollees said they'd rather have the coverage than not have it. They all said they would re-enroll in the program if they couldn't get other insurance over the course of the year, and they've been spreading the word to friends and family to sign up.
"They don't want to be uninsured again." Perry said.