America’s Uninsured Rate Dropped Thanks to Obamacare

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The Affordable Care Act has survived severe challenges; the political battle that began in the early days of the healthcare reform’s legislative history put the law’s constitutionality before the Supreme Court, spawned dozens of attempts in the House of Representatives to repeal the law as a whole or in parts, and was a precipitating factor in October’s shutdown of the federal government.

Now that the cornerstone provision — the individual insurance exchanges — of the Affordable Care Act has been implemented, the nature of the political battles has changed and the survival of the healthcare reform is no longer as precarious as it once was, although the Republican party is considering ways to offer their own solution to America’s healthcare problems. But there are survival battles yet to be fought; namely, the Affordable Care must show that it accomplished its express purpose, as making health coverage accessible to the nation’s millions of uninsured.

Early in the enrollment period, policy experts worried that uninsured Americans were not signing up for policies via the exchanges. That concern was legitimate. Not only did survey results show in the months leading up the to the October 1 marketplace launch that a large percentage of the American population was confused about the law and its implications, research done by Gallup suggest that in November, both confusion and the problems with the healthcare website linking the federally-facilitated marketplaces had discouraged the uninsured from enrolling.

The survey found that only three in 10 uninsured Americans are familiar with the insurance marketplaces created by the healthcare reform law, while just 18 percent of the country’s 48 million uninsured — roughly 8.6 million people — had attempted to visit an exchange website. Just a slightly higher portion, 22 percent, said they plan to get insurance through the exchanges.

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