News and Tribune

Community News Network

January 2, 2014

Four ways to tell if Affordable Care Act is working

WASHINGTON — We are now days into the health-care law's insurance expansion, which began at midnight on Jan. 1. And it is, alas, far too early to tell if the nation's new health-care reform is working. We know that no "death panels" have materialized but, aside from that, have very little information about how the Affordable Care Act's newly insured are changing our health-care system.

It is not too early though to think a bit about what "working" actually means. There are a handful of ways that we tend to measure the success of health insurance expansions in the United States. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is no exception here; it's a complex law where there are at least four policy outcomes that all count as some definition of "working."

Do more people have health insurance?

One key goal of the health law was to reduce the uninsured rate by making it easier for the 48 million Americans without insurance coverage to get it. The Congressional Budget Office projects that about 30 million people will gain coverage over the next decade, compared to a scenario where the ACA had never passed. That will be one yardstick by which to tell if the health-care law is working: Whether more people have coverage.

This is actually difficult to measure, at least in the short-term, because there's no national clearinghouse of people who do or don't have insurance. The combination of insurance cancellations and exchange sign-ups make it really hard to know, at this very moment, whether the health law has led to a net gain in coverage. The Census Bureau does do annual surveys on insured rates, but those come out on a bit of a delay. The federal agency won't publish data on 2014, for example, until the fall of 2015.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
LOCAL MAGAZINES
Easter 2014 photos


Click on any photo to purchase it.

SPECIAL CONTENT
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
2013 Photos of the year


Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.