• Credit where credit is due: health reform does some good

    These days, any bad news about the health care system is pinned by someone as an outcome of health reform, even when it is not. That being the case, we ought to give the ACA credit when it has resulted in some good. Rick Unger, in Forbes, has something to say in this regard:

    The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised. […]

    [T]he tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working. […]

    United Health Group, Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer, added 75,000 new customers working in businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

    Coventry Health Care, Inc., a large provider of health insurance to small businesses, added 115,000 new workers in 2010 representing an 8% jump.

    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest health insurer in the Kansas City, Mo. area, reports an astounding 58% increase in the number of small businesses purchasing coverage in their area since April, 2010-one month after the health care reform legislation became law.

    One of the biggest problems in the small-group market is affordability,” said Ron Rowe, who oversees small-group sales for the Kansas City operation for Blue Cross Blue Shied. “We looked at the tax credit and said, ‘this is perfect.”

    Rowe went on to say that 38% of the businesses it is signing up had not offered health benefits before. […]

    The primary, most enduring complaint of the opponents of the ACA has been that the law is deathly bad for small business.

    Apparently, small businesses, and their employees, do not agree. […]

    When data like this appears, we have the opportunity to really find out who is talking smack for political benefit and who actually cares about getting affordable and available health care to America’s workers. […] [I]f you cannot celebrate what appears to be an important early success, you really should give some thought as to where your true interests and intents lie.

    If you’re all about beating up on President Obama, you can conveniently forget this bit of data as if it never really happened. However, if your interest is to make health care available to more Americans, this should be a happy day for you – no matter what your ideological beliefs.

    I should point out that all the evidence provided in Unger’s column is anecdotal. He has not done a comprehensive study. My point, however, is that evidence of this very type (anecdotal) is used day in and out to pin bad news on the ACA. It’s nice to see a little balance.

    The ACA was designed to do some good and it very likely is and will. That doesn’t make it perfect and that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. But it’s not part of an evil, socialist plot to kill jobs and destroy America. It’s principally intended to increase health insurance coverage by remedying some market failures and subsidizing costs to groups that disproportionately face higher ones. I hope it works. We all should.

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