In welcome news for the Obama administration, two surveys released Wednesday suggests that a provision in the Affordable Care Act drove down the number of uninsured young adults by about 1 million (to about 9 million). Both the National Center for Health Statistics and Gallup found that the number of uninsured adults aged 25 or younger dropped sharply early this year, as families rushed to take advantage of President Obama's health care law, which requires insurers to let young Americans remain on their parents' employer-provided plans until age 26. Does this prove that the reform package is working?
Yes. And this puts Republicans on the defensive: Republicans have dismissed the health care law as a disaster, says Janet Adamy in The Wall Street Journal, even though most of its "sweeping policy changes" won't be felt until 2014. Now, one provision is apparently already working, which puts the Republicans in a pickle. If they try to repeal the law, they'll have to answer to voters whose "post-college kids, struggling to find work in a weak economy, get booted from their health plan."
"Health law means fewer young adults go without insurance"
Do not read too much into these stats: "There is no hard evidence of a link" between these numbers and President Obama's new law, says Conn Carroll at the Washington Examiner. But even if "ObamaCare" is helping some young people get covered, "that increased care comes at a cost." Forcing insurers to cover people will drive up premiums, as it has in Massachusetts under "RomneyCare." That discourages businesses from creating jobs that offer health benefits, which is hardly something to crow about.
"Even when it succeeds, ObamaCare fails"
The biggest questions about "ObamaCare" have yet to be answered: Critics are quick to point out that the new coverage requirements "will, on their own, raise the price of health care," says Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic. But the health care law counters that with "a host of other reforms — from changing payments in Medicare to taxing high-end private insurance — designed to reduce costs." Will the cost savings wind up being larger than the cost increases, as intended? That will be the ultimate test of success.
"Gosh, is ObamaCare working?"
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