Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Could it possibly be? Do my eyes deceive me? Are the Beltway media villagers actually writing positive stories about "ObamaCare" now? Well, at least the Washington Post is.
On Sunday the Post reported America’s newly insured laud health-care law:
Adam Peterson’s life is about to change. For the first time in years, he is planning to do things he could not have imagined. He intends to have surgery to remove his gallbladder, an operation he needs to avoid another trip to the emergency room. And he’s looking forward to running a marathon in mid-January along the California coast without constant anxiety about what might happen if he gets injured.
These plans are possible, says Peterson, who turned 50 this year and co-manages a financial services firm in Champaign, Ill., because of a piece of plastic the size of a credit card that arrived in the mail the other day: a health insurance card.
Peterson is among the millions of uninsured Americans who are benefiting from the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law that launched far-reaching changes to the U.S. health-care system and is President Obama’s premier domestic achievement.
Many, including Peterson, had firsthand encounters with the error-prone federal Web site, HealthCare.gov, that tested their patience and resolve. Some called help lines that couldn’t help them. Others drove long distances to meet with trained enrollment workers who couldn’t get them enrolled. Yet they persisted.
And as New Year’s Day approaches, and with it, health insurance, their frustration is trumped by gratitude. “I get these messages from acquaintances on Facebook saying, ‘Let me keep my doctor,’ ’’ Peterson said. “Well, what about those of us who didn’t have health insurance before? . . . I have been walking a tightrope and have had some twists and falls off of it. To not have to worry about this anymore is a tremendous relief.”
Getting Americans health insurance is at the heart of the health law, the most significant change in health-care policy since the 1965 creation of Medicare, the federal program for the elderly, and Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor and disabled. Such a dramatic expansion in coverage had eluded presidents, including Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Bill Clinton, for decades.
This core mission has sometimes been obscured by the political and legal disputes that have dogged and, in important ways, altered the law. Strong research links having health insurance and being healthy. Having a health plan does not guarantee that a good doctor is within reach when a patient needs one. But insurance matters.
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Various studies have found that children without insurance are less likely to get immunized or treated for a sore throat or even a ruptured appendix. Adults without coverage are less likely to get mammograms or prostate exams. If they have high blood pressure or diabetes, it is more likely to be out of control. If they have a stroke, it is more likely to leave lasting damage. The Institute of Medicine has said there’s “a chasm” between the health needs of uninsured people and their access to effective care — a gap that “results in needless illness, suffering and even death.”
In health-care economics, it is considered rational to provide coverage, so that people can readily get small medical problems taken care of before they become big, expensive, pent-up medical problems. But the gallbladder surgery Peterson is about to have and the unforeseen ailments that Munstock’s physical on Thursday could unearth also illustrate a risk for the health plans that have been signing up new patients under the law: Unless those plans also attract new customers who are young, healthy and inexpensive to insure, the rush of people like Peterson and Munstock is going to freight the new system with costs that are too heavy. Insurance rates could go up. Plans could drop out. Will it happen? No one knows.
That is the macro view. The micro view, for people who have been waiting for insurance for years, is financial protection. Hospitals frequently charge uninsured people two to four times what health insurers and government programs pay for hospital services, according to a 2007 Health Affairs study.
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[N]early 48 million Americans were uninsured as of 2012, according to the most recent official figures — 11 million more than at the turn of the century, or almost one in every six people. More than 6.5 million children are uninsured.
The law wasn’t designed to help everyone who is uninsured. But it is likely to cover a big chunk — 32 million people, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office about the time Obama signed the 2,000-page legislation into law.
How many people will take up the offer remains to be seen. The CBO has estimated that 7 million will sign up for private plans by the end of the first annual open enrollment period on March 31, while another 9 million will enroll in an expanded Medicaid program or in the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
On Monday the Post reports Health coverage sign-ups top 1.1M on U.S. exchange:
More than 1.1 million Americans signed up for an insurance plan through the federal health-care marketplace during its initial enrollment period, with more than 975,000 enrolling in December alone, the Obama administration announced Sunday.
The new figures, which came as the administration reworked its computer system to extend the deadline for an extra day, until midnight on Dec. 24, suggest that federal officials are making up some ground after glitches and processing errors made HealthCare.gov difficult to access and navigate during its first two months of operation.
So far, nearly 2 million Americans — who were either uninsured or had to change coverage after their existing plans were canceled — have signed up under the new health-care law on state and federal marketplaces. Roughly 850,000 people have enrolled through the state-run exchanges, according to Charles Gaba, a Web designer tracking enrollment numbers.
The administration is still far short of the enrollment targets it set just before the system was launched Oct. 1. The Department of Health and Human Services had anticipated that 3.3 million people would have signed up by now, according to a Sept. 5 agency memo. [This is still two-thirds of the goal despite the prolonged computer glitches, and the sustained "ObamaScare" media hysteria by the right-wing noise machine and its complicit partners in the "lamestream" media.]
Still, officials celebrated the end-of-year results.
“We are in the middle of a sustained, six-month open enrollment period that we expect to see enrollment ramp up over time, much like other historic implementation efforts we’ve seen in Massachusetts and Medicare Part D,” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid administrator Marilyn Tavenner wrote on the HHS blog, referring to the nation’s first health-insurance exchange under Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), in 2006, and the prescription drug coverage expansion enacted during President George W. Bush’s administration. “In part, this was because we met our marks on improving HealthCare.gov: the site supported 83,000 concurrent users on December 23rd alone.”
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Some experts on health-care policy say the December surge increases the possibility that the law could meet federal projections of 7 million enrollments by March 31, 2014.
“It is starting to track with what people, particularly the Congressional Budget Office, projected originally,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “December is the first month where federal sign-ups have kept up with state sign-ups, too.”
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The administration is gearing up to preempt any health-care access problems that may crop up starting next month, publishing online guides on how to determine which doctor visits and prescription drugs are covered under the new system.
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Officials also plan to intensify their outreach to young adults, Latinos, African Americans, women and other key groups after Jan. 1, they said, through intermediaries including celebrities, local activists, provider networks, nurses, doctors, churches, mosques and synagogues.
“We are eager to assist millions more Americans gain the health security offered by the Affordable Care Act in the weeks and months ahead,” Tavenner wrote.
Former Vermont governor Howard Dean (D) said on “Fox News Sunday” that despite the problems of getting young people to sign up, he was confident that President Obama’s health-care law would be “running a lot more smoothly” by March.
The former Democratic National Committee chairman, who is also a doctor, accused critics of overstating the problems. “I think the first year is going to be more successful than most people think,” he said.
So maybe we are finally done with the media hysteria driven by the conservative media entertainment complex and its complicit partners in the "lamestream" media.
UPDATE: From Steve Benen, A new, better phase for Obamacare:
“Obamacare” supporters are feeling optimistic.
If Democrats get their way, the next phase of the Obamacare wars will see something unusual: a flood of success stories.The White House, Democratic lawmakers and advocacy organizations will launch a campaign this week to highlight real-life experiences under the Affordable Care Act – tales so compelling that they help drive up enrollment, marginalize Republican repeal efforts and erase memories of this fall’s HealthCare.gov debacle.
Now if only our panicky Democratic congress critters get the memo.