The new online insurance marketplaces have created quite the buzz, and lately all the bees seem to talk about is websites, websites, websites. The media has particularly focused on the federal website, HealthCare.gov, which was plagued by numerous technical issues in its first weeks. We opened last week with President Obama’s speech to address issues with the website and his main message was loud and clear: the Affordable Care Act is much more than a website.
We happen to agree! The real questions are whether Americans now have access to more affordable, quality health insurance options, and whether they are enrolling in these new options. The answer to both questions seems to be a resounding YES. In spite of web challenges, Obamacare applications near 700,000, with New Yorkers representing over 174,000 of these. In terms of affordability, this report from the Center for American Progress showed that price competition in the marketplaces is already lowering premiums – below projected levels!
So, as we head into another week, I thought I’d share some of my favorite “real people” stories from last week:
Kentucky’s Governor Steve L. Beshear has been a phenomenal champion for the Affordable Care Act, despite resistance from the Republican base in his state. Kentucky operates its own marketplace and has adopted the Medicaid expansion. One-thousand Kentucky residents are signing up each week. Gov. Beshear’s quote of the week:
“You don’t have to like the president; you don’t have to like me. Because this isn’t about him, and it’s not about me. It’s about you, your family and your children. So do yourself a favor. Find what you can get for yourself. You’re going to like what you find.”
We also heard that Ohio agreed to expand Medicaid coverage, largely due to the efforts of Republican Governor John Kasich. Way to go Governors! Here in New York State, we’ve been operating our Family Health Plus Medicaid expansion program since 2000, and will further expand to include more childless adults under the Affordable Care Act.
Finally, pundit Sally Kohn parted ways with Fox news last week, but not before she wrote a commentary praising the Affordable Care Act. Ms. Kohn was able to access New York’s own marketplace - NY State of Health – and save, to the tune of $408/year and $5,000 in deductible savings. Last Friday on CNN’s opinion page, she urged for “patience” with the Affordable Care Act, listing many of the ways – such as those above! – that it is already working.
Here’s to another week!