Four new studies show that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working to drastically decrease the number of uninsured Americans and has had “virtually no adverse effect on labor force participation, [or] employment,” standing in stark contrast to Fox News' long history of stoking fears that the law would “cost a fortune,” and inhibit job creation.
Four New Studies Show Obamacare Is Working To Decrease Number Of Uninsured Americans, And Has Not Adversely Affected Employment
Urban Institute: ACA Has Had "No Adverse Effect" On Employment Or Labor Force Participation. According to an August 2015 study by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Affordable Care Act “had virtually no adverse effect on labor force participation, employment, or usual hours worked per week through 2014”:
We find that the ACA had virtually no adverse effect on labor force participation, employment, or usual hours worked per week through 2014. This conclusion is true for ACA policies overall and for the Medicaid expansions in particular, and it applies to the full sample of nonelderly persons and to the subgroup of nonelderly persons with a high school education or less who are more likely to be affected by the ACA.
For nonelderly adults with a high school education or less, we find that employment in 2014 is 1.8 percentage points higher than what would be expected given the rates of unemployment, demographic characteristics and pre-existing time trends. This finding is inconsistent with predictions that the ACA would decrease employment.
Also for nonelderly adults with a high school education or less, we find that part-time employment is higher than expected by 0.5 percentage points. This finding is consistent with some predictions that the ACA would increase part-time work, but may also reflect the continuing recovery in the labor market. This difference is sufficiently small, however, that we find no evidence of a change in the number of hours worked in 2014 and thus no overall change in labor supply beyond what would be expected.
The ACA's Medicaid expansions had virtually no effect on labor market outcomes through the end of 2014. This finding is consistent with the best available previous evidence, which suggests any effects of Medicaid expansions on employment are likely to be small. [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, August, 2015]
CDC: Number Of Uninsured Individuals Has Declined By Seven Million Since 2013. According to an August report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s National Center for Health Statistics, the number of people without health insurance has declined by seven million since the Obamacare's coverage expansion went into effect:
The number of uninsured persons continued to decline from 2013. In the first 3 months of 2015, 29 million persons of all ages (9.2%) were uninsured at the time of interview, 7 million fewer persons than in 2014.
Among adults aged 18-64, the percentage uninsured decreased from 16.3% in 2014 to 13.0% in the first 3 months of 2015. There was a corresponding increase in private coverage, from 67.3% to 70.4%.
Among those under age 65, the percentage with private coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges increased from 2.5% (6.7 million) in the last 3 months of 2014 to 3.6% (9.7 million) in the first 3 months of 2015. [CDC, August, 2015]
Gallup: Number Of States With More Than 20% Uninsured Has Dropped Since ACA Was Implemented In 2013. An August 10 study from Gallup found that today, only one state, Texas, has an uninsured rate of more than 1 in 5 adults -- a significant drop from when Obamacare took effect in 2013 and “there were 14 states in which more than 1 in 5 adults lacked health insurance.” According to LA Times' report:
When the Affordable Care Act took effect in October 2013, there were 14 states in which more than 1 in 5 adults lacked health insurance; today only Texas remains, according to data released Monday.
At the other end of the scale, only five states' populations were so well-insured in 2013 that fewer than 1 in 10 adult residents lacked insurance. Today, more than half the states have achieved that goal.
The state-by-state insurance levels, which detail how rapidly the insurance picture has changed since President Obama's signature healthcare reform started, come from a large-scale, twice-a-year survey by Gallup. The survey included more than 178,000 adults in 2013, before the law took effect, and 88,667 in the first half of 2015, allowing unusually precise estimates of the effect the law has had at the state level.
Texas, whose officials have strongly resisted cooperation with the new law, had the highest level of residents lacking insurance before the law took effect and has made among the least progress of any state. Its uninsurance rate fell from 27% in 2013 to just under 21% in the first half of this year, making it the only state that has more than one-fifth of its residents uninsured. [LA Times, 8/10/15; Gallup, 8/10/15]
CMS: ACA Safety Net To Insure Americans Who Have Lost Insurance Is Working. Huffington Post reported August 13 that according to data released by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) “almost half a million people have taken advantage” of Obamacare's safety net that provides “a fallback option to people who lose their health coverage during the year”:
The Obamacare health insurance exchanges appear to be doing a good job when it comes to one of their most important yet underappreciated functions: offering a fallback option to people who lose their health coverage during the year.
Already this year, almost half a million people have taken advantage of that safety net, a new government report shows.
Since the federal HealthCare.gov system and those run by states like California and Kentucky went live in October 2013, sign-ups during the annual open enrollment periods have garnered most of the attention, as has the rapid increase in the number of Americans with health insurance.
But a key function of these health insurance exchange marketplaces is to provide a place people can go if they lose their health coverage, such as when they lose a job and the benefits that came with it, or when they start working for an employer that doesn't offer a health plan.
On Thursday, the federal government for the first time released data suggesting Americans are taking advantage of this option. According to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, half of the 944,000 new enrollees on the federally run exchanges in 37 states between Feb. 23 and June 30 signed up because they'd lost their previous coverage. The agency doesn't have data for states that fully operate their own marketplaces. [Huffington Post, 8/13/15; CMS, 8/13/25]
But Fox News Has A Long History Of Fearmongering About The ACA Despite Studies That Show The Law Is Working
Fox Host Suggested Obamacare's Enrollment Numbers And Dropping Rate Of Uninsured Americans Aren't Real. On the March 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Bret Baier casted doubt on Obamacare's surging enrollment numbers and the plummeting rate in those uninsured, offering an unevidenced claim that “an independent expert says the reality is fewer than 10 million people have signed up.” [Fox News, Special Report, 3/16/15]
Fox Host: “Companies Are Not Hiring” Because Of The Affordable Care Act. On the June 15 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum falsely claimed “businesses you talk to all across the country will tell you” that they're not hiring because of the ACA. Talking over guest Mary Anne Marsh as she tried to reply, MacCallum demanded “why companies are not hiring” if not because of the Affordable Care Act. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 6/15/15]
Fox Business Host: ACA Will “Cost A Fortune.” Fox Business host Charles Payne argued that the health care law will “cost a fortune,” and called the Supreme Court's June ruling to uphold health insurance tax credits for millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act “another giant step toward Banana Republic”:
I braced for this decision by SCOTUS still shocked....folks country has fundamentally changed...another giant step toward Banana Republic
-- Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) June 25, 2015
the public and perhaps bullying of Supreme Court works yet again...will cost working Americans a fortune
-- Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) June 25, 2015
Fox & Friends: “Net Result” Of Obamacare “Is Quite Negative.” On the March 31 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocy claimed that “the net result [of Obamacare] is quite negative” as enrollment in the health care law surged on the last day of open enrollment in 2014. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/31/14]
This item has been updated for clarity