The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act recently celebrated its year and a half of existence. If you haven’t heard about it in recent news, that’s because “Obamacare” actually works. Take that, Republicans! Despite the early backlash about the lonely 106,000 people who signed up in the first month after Obamacare’s launch in October 2013, the program has made its way and now holds a relevant place in American society. The stats are even here to prove it.
Before we dive into the stats and the reasons why Obamacare has been a long-overdue success in America, let us remind the readership that our dear Canadian neighbors, those we playfully mock for their accents and the maple syrup they abundantly use in their dishes, have had their own version of universal healthcare for the past 30 years after the Canada Health Act was passed in 1984. And this is the first paragraph on the Canada health care system’s webpage: “Canada’s health care system is a group of socialized health insurance plans that provides coverage to all Canadian citizens. It is publicly funded and administered on a provincial or territorial basis, within guidelines set by the federal government.” This sounds great and shows a health guideline totally in touch with today’s society.
We could say, “Look, Canada, we have our own public health insurance system now.” But really, who are we kidding? We are so late amongst developed countries on health coverage that comparing ourselves to others would really be an insult. Let’s just be proud of the accomplishments from the past year and a half and acknowledge that, for once, American health insurance finally managed to reach a basic goal of human decency.
We will start off our observations with noticing that the percentage of uninsured people has dropped to 12.3 percent (from around 16 percent before the passing of the law), while Mother Jones magazine says “nearly 30 million Americans have gotten health insurance under Obamacare.” The New Republic states that, based on plenty of surveys, about 10 million of uninsured Americans are now insured under Obamacare. Another good piece of news? Health care costs are rising slower than expected. They rose by 2 percent every year between 1990 and 2008 on average, and from 2012 on, they will only rise by 1.1 percent (with projections going until 2023).
So Obamacare is a success? It has reached its goal to insure more people and to make healthcare more affordable. A little icing on the cake lies in the fact that the program has cost an approximate 20 percent less than expected over the past year and half, which should make everyone happy. Well, not quite everyone, since the Republicans have put the law on Obamacare to a vote, making a whopping 56 attempts to overturn it and failing miserably every single time. It seems fair to wonder if they really care about middle-class America’s health.
And here comes Canada’s health care system again: “With a few exceptions, all citizens qualify for health coverage regardless of medical history, personal income or standard of living.” Yes, that’s how it is done.