The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released early estimates of health insurance and access to healthcare from January through September 2014 that suggest Obamacare's impact on overall access to healthcare coverage has been negligible.
are based on the National Health Insurance Survey, which asks three important questions:
- Are respondents uninsured at the time the survey is conducted?
- Have they been uninsured for at least part of the year?
- Have they been uninsured for more than a year?
The CDC news release containing the estimates includes a chart which shows that "the proportion of long-term uninsured is about the same as it was circa 2000," notes John Graham
of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a pro-free-market think tank.
But according to Graham, the data "masks a dramatic increase in government dependency among working-age adults," during this period, one which was not primarily the result of Obamacare.
The data shows that in 1997, 72.8 percent of those aged 18 to 64 had private health insurance coverage. By 2010, this had fallen to 64.1 percent.
By 2014, it had risen to 67 percent. And that estimate of the number with private coverage may be an overestimate, Graham writes, because it includes people who have bought subsidized health insurance on Obamacare exchanges.
"Health insurance bought on an Obamacare exchanges is not fully private" because "most of the premiums are paid by taxpayers," he notes.
But the increase in dependence does not appear to have resulted in an improvement in access to healthcare.
The proportion of people of all ages with "a usual place to go for medical care"
was 87.8 percent last year, "the same as it was in 2002-2003," Graham writes.
Moreover, 5.7 percent said they failed
to obtain needed medical care due to cost last year — the same as in 2003 and 2004.
The results show "that the effects of the 2008 financial crisis and recession, and slow recovery, far outweigh Obamacare's effect on access to healthcare," Graham concludes.
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