So, yesterday I posted an item about how the ACA has cut Kentucky's uninsured rate by at least 50% since last October. This is significant news, but I also posted similar items about impressive uninsured rate drops in New Jersey (38%), Minnesota (40%) and especially Massachusetts (a good 86% or so, down to nearly zilch). All four posts received various levels of retweets on Twitter. However, the Kentucky one in particular apparently caught the eye of one David Simas, aka the "Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy."
This press release JUST showed up in my in box; I don't have a link to it on WA's website, so I'm reposting it verbatim below (emphasis mine):
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 12, 2014
Media contact: Public Affairs (360) 725-7055
Individual health insurance market expands more than 30 percent – enrollment now at 327,000
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The individual health insurance market grew 30 percent in one year to more than 327,000 people in Washington state, according to new information reported by health insurers to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
The latest enrollment numbers and other insurance market data also indicate that Washington state has succeeded in reducing the number of uninsured by more than 370,000.
Today’s individual market total includes 171,286 people enrolled outside the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, Wahealthplanfinder, and 156,155 people enrolled inside the Exchange as of June 1, 2014.
Since today seems to be "How much has the ACA cut the uninsured rate by in this state/that state?" day, I thought I'd dust off this TPM article from way back on April 1st:
Obamacare has cut Kentucky's uninsured population by more than 40 percent, signing up roughly 360,000 residents since enrollment opened up on Oct. 1, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Some 75 percent of them -- 270,000 -- were previously uninsured. That means Kentucky's uninsured population of 640,000 has come down by 42 percent.
At the time, the headline read "Obamacare Cuts Kentucky's Uninsured Rate By 40 Percent", which was impressive enough. However, that was wayyyy back over 2 months ago. A little simple math tells the rest of the story:
Quite possibly the lamest response to a "Good Obamacare News!" tweet I've seen to date, although it does crystalize the "taking our ball and going home" attitude taken by the GOP since open enrollment closed:
House Energy and Commerce Committee members sent letters requesting specific enrollment data, including the number of individuals who have paid their first month’s premium and demographic breakdowns. The committee has compiled the data that provides a snapshot of the true enrollment picture as of April 15, 2014, after the official end of the open enrollment period. Due to the administration’s repeated and unilateral extensions and changes, as well as the fact that many insurers have reported that individuals will still have time to pay their first month’s premium, the committee plans to ask the insurers in the federally facilitated marketplace to provide an enrollment update by May 20, 2014.
Greg Sargent has a nice piece in the WaPo this morning about a new Bloomberg News poll which uses "more accurate" wording to see what the latest zeitgeist on the ACA is, now that the dust has settled on the first open enrollment period:
...some of the law’s foes like to claim those polls are problematic because they offer a choice between “fixing” and “repealing” the law. This, they say, biases responses in favor of “fix,” because people like fixing things, and at any rate, Obamacare can’t be fixed by definition.
So this new Bloomberg News poll will pose an additional problem to those who simply refuse to accept the reality that, while disapproval of the law remains high, the American people still want to stick with it:
As I noted last week, the whole "Obamacare is socialism!!" mantra, which was always stupid in the first place, looks even sillier now with the news coming in from state after state that more and more private insurance companies are jumping into the ACA exchange pool. Now comes news from my own state of Michigan that the number on the exchange for the 2015 open enrollment season will climb from 13 to a whopping 18:
LANSING — Additional insurers are asking to join Michigan's Health Insurance Marketplace.
The state said today that it has received filing information from 18 health insurance companies wanting to be included in 2015 — five more than participated last year.
Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Ann Flood said state residents seeking coverage through the marketplace will have even more plans to choose from and that "increased competition helps keep premiums lower."
Still, this doesn't take anything away from Minnesota's accomplishment; Mazel Tov all around!
The uninsured rate in Minnesota has fallen by more than 40 percent since the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansion started, a new report from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center shows.
The analysis appears to be the first assessment of how a state's uninsured rate has changed since the insurance expansion began in October. It shows that, between September 2013 and May 2014, the number of uninsured Minnesotans fell from 445,000 to about 264,500.
Wow! New Jersey's ACA Medicaid Expansion is up to over 201,000 people (43% of the total eligible population), helping reduce the state's uninsured rate from 21.2% to 13.2% in the past 8 months:
A monthly enrollment report showed that 1,485,576 state residents were covered by FamilyCare, which includes coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. That total represented a 45,674-person increase from April and a 201,095-person increase since January 1, when the eligibility expansion went into effect.
The numbers suggest that the number of uninsured New Jerseyans has continued to fall since early March, when a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-sponsored survey found that the percentage of state residents without insurance had already fallen to 13.2 percent, down from 21.2 percent in September.
At the end of the official enrollment extension period (technically 4/19), Colorado's exchange QHP tally stood at 125,402. As of the end of May, it was up to 132,815, with SHOP enrollments up to 2,135. This means Colorado's QHP total went up around 6% since open enrollment ended, or around 177 per day.
OK, I've only gone completely off-topic on this site like twice, but I'm just such a huge fan of this woman that I'm making an exception.
I'm very much aware that the bulk of my 15 minutes of fame pretty much ran out the moment that the first open enrollment extension period wrapped up, but the site still receives a decent amount of traffic so I figured, what the hell, might as well help give a deserving talent some additional exposure before what's left of my own spotlight dims completely.
Besides, there's been so much depressing news of late (more mass shootings by wingnut extremists, the ugly response by the GOP to the President bringing home an American POW, etc) that I figured I should lighten things up a bit for once. WIth that in mind...
Over 6 years ago, during the famous Obama/Hillary Presidential Primary Slugfest, I stumbled across a YouTube video of a talented woman named Rosemary Watson who absolutely nailed Hillary Clinton to a T in a hilarious bit called "New Hand Gestures":
When Massachusetts passed its landmark health coverage law under Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006, no one claimed the state would get to zero, as in 0 percent of residents who are uninsured. But numbers out today suggest Massachusetts is very close.
Between December 2013 and March of this year, when the federal government was urging people to enroll, the number of Massachusetts residents signed up for health coverage increased by more than 215,000. If that number holds, the percentage of Massachusetts residents who do not have coverage has dropped to less than 1 percent.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Massachusetts only had around 242,000 uninsured residents out of 6.65 million total as of last September (about 3.6%), just before the ACA exchanges launched. So on the one hand, Massachusetts already had the lowest uninsured rate in the country due, of course, to RomneyCare, the precursor of Obamacare (no matter how much Mitt wants to deny it now, Lord knows why...)
So, it's been over a month since my last official update of The Graph. I've been debating whether to post any further updates of it, especially since the HHS Dept. announced that they won't be posting any more monthly exchange QHP updates, at least until the next open enrollment period starts in November. Without these, I have no official count of additional enrollments beyond the 8.02 million which were announced through April 19th.
However, I do have some official numbers since then, mostly on the Medicaid/CHIP side, and a handful of the state exchanges have still be providing regular updates (ironically, two of the states which continue to keep posting updates have the worst technical problems, Hawaii and Oregon).