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The Cost Of GOP Obstruction: New Research Shows States That Embraced The Affordable Care Act Are Faring Significantly Better


The Affordable Care Act is working better in states that have worked to fully implement the health care law.

That’s the conclusion from a new Gallup survey, which found the uninsured rate for adults dropped three times as fast in recent months in states that implemented Medicaid expansion and set up their own exchanges in the health insurance marketplace, compared with those that didn’t.

The uninsured rate among adults 18 and older dropped by 2.5% on average in the 21 states, and Washington, D.C., where governments implemented the two central Affordable Care Act provisions. The 29 the states that implemented only one or neither provision saw their uninsured rates drop by a mere 0.8%.

As MSNBC reported, these results have important implications:

It’s not just that states that have made an effort now enjoy a lower uninsured rate, it’s also that these states have done proportionately better at making progress.

In other words, Americans living in states that haven’t bothered to create an exchange marketplace and have rejected Medicaid expansion are worse off, and adding insult to injury, insurance conditions are getting better in those states slower than if they lived in areas where officials tried to make the system work.

Those officials who want to see “Obamacare” work effectively for the public are more likely to implement the law well, to their constituents’ benefit. And at the same time, those officials who want the ACA to struggle can create their own self-fulfilling prophecy.

The uninsured rate was already higher in states where Republican governors blocked efforts to fully implement the law. Gallup’s findings indicate that GOP obstruction is only making the problem worse:

The states (including the District of Columbia) that have implemented two of the law’s core mechanisms – Medicaid expansion and state health insurance exchanges – are realizing a rate of decline that is substantively greater than what is found among the remaining states that have not done so. Consequently, the gap that previously existed between the two groups has now expanded.

Some states still haven’t lifted a finger to implement the Affordable Care Act, and the consequences are plain to see. States opposed to the ACA have allocated less funding to educate residents about their options under the law, and several states have even attempted to undermine the health insurance navigators who are helping Americans enroll in coverage. As a result, people who live in red states are much less likely to receive information about health reform, even when they seek assistance at a local clinic.

Today’s Gallup study also found that the Affordable Care Act has helped at least 10 million Americans get insurance. These findings add to what’s been reported in earlier surveys and the government tally of how many people signed up through the new online exchanges.

Meanwhile, Republicans like Ted Cruz are still adamant about repealing “every single piece” of the health care law — but the GOP has yet to offer up any sort of replacement that would provide the same coverage or consumer protections of the ACA.


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