In late July, the political left celebrated a new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association that purported to show that people are getting better care under ObamaCare. Johnathan Cohn claimed that the study is “one more reason to think Obamacare is not the fiasco that critics claim it to be.”
Actually, the study gives us quite a few more reasons to think that ObamaCare is very inefficient.
The study, “Changes in Self-reported Insurance Coverage, Access to Care, and Health Under the Affordable Care Act,” used data from a Gallup survey to examine how the ObamaCare exchanges and the Medicaid expansion effected the number of insured, access to a physician, access to medication, ability to afford care, how many people were in fair or poor health, and the percentage of days in the last month a respondent’s activities were limited by poor health. The study found improvements in all of those categories. For example, since January 2014, when both exchange policies and the Medicaid expansion went into effect, the number of uninsured has dropped by 7.9 percentage points and those who had no personal physician dropped by 3.5 percentage points.
Success? Well, depends on how you look at it. John Graham at the Independent Institute had a diferent take. He stated that the study means “56 percent of those who got insurance under Obamacare still lack access to a personal physician.” (Here’s the math: 1-(3.5/7.9)= .557.)
Here is how ObamaCare fares on all of the measures:
In addition to 56 percent of those who have gained insurance having no personal physician, about 70 percent don’t have easy access to medicine, well over half are still in fair or poor health, and just shy of four in five have not seen a decline in the number of days that poor health have limited their health. The only measure which ObamaCare apologists might crow about is the “cannot afford care” measure, but that is still over 30 percent. That’s really something, given that over the time period the JAMA study examined the federal government spent about $60 billion on premium subsidies and the Medicaid expansion.
The study also provides further evidence (as if we needed any) that private insurance works better than Medicaid:
There was plenty of evidence prior to ObamaCare that expanding Medicaid might not be such a good idea, but what does evidence matter when there is a society that needs fundamental change?
Indeed, given the way the political left has spun this study, it seems that evidence matters very little at all.