New figures indicate that about 11 million people have signed up for health insurance during this latest sign-up period of Obamacare, of which about half will be from the uninsured population, based on previous estimates. Once again, the supporters of the law celebrate with proclamations that “it’s working.” One could say that assessment is true, if the definition of “working” means enrolling people into anything called health insurance.
To be sure, the law’s implementation is progressing, but there is no cause for celebration. It is indeed true that millions of Americans are now newly enrolled into health insurance, but it is disingenuous to tout this as a great success. An estimated 71% of the new insurance arises through Medicaid, using 2014 calculations based on analysis by Haislmaier and Gonshorowski of data from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.
The harsh reality awaiting these low-income Americans is undeniable: according to 2013 data from a 2014 Merritt Hawkins study, 55% of doctors already refuse new Medicaid patients. According to the HSC Health Tracking Physician Survey, 2008, the percentage of doctors that refuse new Medicaid patients dwarf by about 8 to 10 times the percentage that refuses new private insurance patients.