NY Times: Is the Affordable Care Act Working?

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Today's New York Times has a pretty in-depth overview of how the ACA is doing. Overall it's very well done, though I do have a few quibbles about the sub-header "After a year fully in place..." because the law hasn't been "fully in place" for a year now, mainly because the employer mandate portion doesn't kick in until January (and most of the SHOP small business exchanges haven't been launched yet either).

Aside from that, though, it asks and tries to answer 7 major questions about where things stand:

Has the percentage of uninsured people been reduced?

Answer: Yes, the number of uninsured has fallen significantly.

Has insurance under the law been affordable?

For many, yes, but not for all.

Did the Affordable Care Act improve health outcomes?

Data remains sparse except for one group, the young.

Will the online exchanges work better this year than last?

Most experts expect they will, but they will be tested by new challenges.

Has the health care industry been helped or hurt by the law?

The law mostly helped, by providing new paying patients and insurance customers.

How has the expansion of Medicaid fared?

Twenty-three states have opposed expansion, though several of them are reconsidering.

Has the law contributed to a slowdown in health care spending?

Perhaps, but mainly around the edges.

I don't have much to add here because everything here is either pretty much in line with my findings or outside of my area of knowledge anyway.

The only hard number quibbles I have are that they have the 25% reduction in the uninsured down as ranging between 8-11 million, while I have it ranging somewhere between 10-13 million. This is likely because I have more recent estimated data than the NY Times from states, running through the 3rd quarter, while their official data only runs through the 2nd quarter for the most part. However, the numbers do overlap, so it sounds like 11 million is a pretty good number to go with.

My other quibble is on the Medicaid side. The Times gives the net gain in Medicaid/CHIP enrollment as 8.7 million since last October, which comes from the August CMS report. This is accurate. However, they left out the additional 950,000 added to Medicaid/CHIP before October 2013 but since the ACA was actually passed back in 2010 (also noted in the CMS report). My estimate including September as well comes in at around 10.2 million all told.

Anyway, check it out.