ACA may become the most successful social program in 25 years
By Roger Caldwell
All the negative chatter from the conservative and Republicans have dissipated as Americans sign up for the Affordable Care Act in record numbers. There are many different ways the program is helping Americans, and the program’s proponents are claiming that nine million have been helped, or newly registered in the pro-gram. There are many that may not agree with the calculations, but millions of Americans are excited with the program, and they are signing up every day.
There are three million that are covered under their parents, and that number could be larger, but no one is really tracking that statistic. In January 2014, 800,000 have bought policies on the federal exchanges and that makes the number since the program was started in October 2013, 3 million. There are also more than 3 million that has signed up for Medicare, and that number is constantly growing.
Based on the experience in Massachusetts with healthcare, there will be a major surge in enrollments for the March 31, 2014 deadline. At this point, the program has over achieved the Congressional Budget Office’s projection of seven million, but the projection does not include the three million that are covered by their pa-rents, and the three million signed up by Medicare.
At this point the only legitimate numbers that are counted are the policies bought on the federal exchanges, and that stands at 3.3 million. In the last two months Americans would have to purchase 3.7 million polices to hit the seven million projections by the CBO, and that number is very conceivable.
The political historians will explain to Americans that the United States have rolled out transformational social programs for eight decades. Starting with Social Security in 1937, which was one of the largest tax increases in modern history which caused a sharp recession in the country. It was a more ambitious reform than the ACA, but it was devastating to the economy and the Great Depression.
The next major social pro-gram rollout was Medicare –Medicaid where the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons organized a revolt of nonparticipation in the plan. They were angered because the American Medical Association endorsed cooperation with the government and they believed that the country was turning to socialized medicine. The problems were overcome, but the argument was very similar to what we hear today about the ACA.
The administration problems that both these programs created made many politicians think that they were not doable, and they both were more expensive than the ACA. In 2013, Medicare, Social Security and other entitlement programs account for 37 percent of the total Federal budget.
America is struggling with the cost of entitlement programs such as Food Stamps as the number has increased in the last five years. General Welfare and housing assistance are other programs that the federal government pays and the numbers keep going up. With all the website problems and policy changes the ACA have created, program maintenance costs are only a hundredth of 1 percent of the GDP. When the economists and the Congressional Budget Office estimate the total cost of the new program, which includes subsidies and expenses for Medicaid, the total cost is $51 billion which is only a third of 1 percent of the American GDP.
Most of the negative chatter was not based on fact and it is possible that 25 million Americans who never had healthcare may finally have insurance. The ACA has the potential to transform the healthcare system in America and save the country billions of dollars. There is no reason why all the states in the country have not expanded their federal Medicaid program and created a health-care exchange, where the federal government funds the program at 100 percent.