The 8 million people enrolled in marketplace coverage are living proof that the new healthcare law is working– and it’s working for all of us. We all benefit when insurance companies can no longer: deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions; charge women more; and cut off coverage when people are in the middle of costly treatments.
Democrats and supporters of the Affordable Care Act are standing up for the law and putting Republican opponents on the defensive. During his press conference last week, President Obama made a call to action for Democrats to “forcefully defend and be proud of the fact that millions of people” have been helped by the law.
In an interview this week, Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu vowed to campaign aggressively against her GOP opponent’s opposition to Medicaid expansion and support for repeal, saying: “the benefits that people have received are worth fighting for.” Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear calls his state’s high number of sign-ups “an indisputable success.” In Michigan, SEIU’s first independent expenditure ad defending healthcare for working families hit the airwaves this week.
More proof that the Affordable Care Act is on a winning streak: Among the 8 million Americans who have gained health insurance through the marketplace 28 percent are in the crucial 18 to 34 year old age range. The CBO is estimating costs to states for Medicaid expansion will run one-third lower than previously projected.
In a new report CBO says Medicaid expansion raises spending by 1.6 percent for states, and that’s not including the cost savings states will realize by providing health insurance coverage for the uninsured. New Hampshire is the most recent state to expand Medicaid eligibility, which will provide health insurance to 50,000 low-income adults. SEIU members and allies will be working to enroll the eligible uninsured in that state soon.
The healthcare law is working for millions upon millions of Americans, including not only the 8 million enrolled in marketplace plans but the 100 million more of us who benefit from its many benefits and protections. Contrast this with those who would strip away coverage and protections from all of us and let big insurance companies call the shots again.
SEIU nurses, healthcare workers, child care providers and security officers are thrilled to play a lead role in bringing affordable healthcare to 8 million “and counting” people —our patients, our communities, and our friends and families.
- We celebrate that not only have 8 million people gained insurance by choosing a marketplace plan, that millions more are also gaining coverage through Medicaid for the first time, as these are both pillars of the new healthcare law. With most Americans strongly supporting the availability of Medicaid, it is shameful that Republican governors and legislators in many states are still refusing funding that would cover over 5 million more Americans and save lives, like that of SEIU activist Charlene Dill.
- SEIU members know the new healthcare law isn’t perfect and, like most Americans, we want some things about it to be improved. But we’re not about to turn back the clock on people with pre-existing conditions and people who are getting preventive care—such as mammograms—for the first time in their lives.
- Republicans want to go back to the days when insurance companies called all the shots. Their latest hype about repeal-style plans would be a handout to big insurers at the expense of working people.
Affordable Care Act Developments in Critical States:
Republicans in several states are on the defensive on Medicaid expansion:
- GOP Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land’s strident stand on repealing Obamacare would mean hundreds of thousands would no longer have access to critical coverage.
- Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn and gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter, who have been wishy-washy on the law, support Medicaid expansion – and that’s partly because polls show 59 percent of Georgians support it, too.
- Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has tried to pass the decision off to the state legislature, which is widely seen as an effort to pass the buck. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback just managed to do the same thing, on Friday signing a bill that gave the Republican-dominated legislature authority to block Medicaid expansion even if a Democrat is elected governor.
- In Florida, newly minted Democrat Charlie Crist is hitting Gov. Rick Scott hard for his refusal to accept Medicaid funding. Much like in Georgia, 58 percent of Florida voters want to see their state take the federal funds. Crist leads Scott in the latest polling.
- In Louisiana, Democrats are trying to bypass Gov. Bobby Jindal and let state voters decide whether to accept $16 billion in expanded federal Medicaid funding, to cover 242,000 newly eligible Louisianans.
- A recent New York Times Upshot/Kaiser Family Foundation poll focused in southern states shows substantial support for Medicaid expansion, as well support for Congress to fix the existing healthcare law rather than repeal and replace it.