WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Despite multiple repeal efforts, tens of millions of dollars spent in campaign ads against it, and an entire party building its policy on getting rid of it, the Affordable Care Act has managed to do two things, survive and thrive.
As of Tuesday morning, the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces/exchanges reportedly signed up more than 7 million people to insurance plans. While the specifics of those numbers haven’t been broken down (i.e. new signups, age of those signing up, etc.), after a disastrous rollout; the law still met the target point set by the Congressional Budget Office.
In addition, according to the L.A. Times, another 4.5 million previously uninsured adults have signed up for coverage through expanded state Medicaid programs. An additional 3 million young adults under the age of 26 also now receive health care insurance due to a provision that allows them to stay on their parents insurance, according to the Times.
Plus, the Times reported that 9 million people bought health plans directly from insurers, rather than go through the federal marketplace/exchange. A Rand Corporation survey found the majority of those were uninsured, according to the Times report.
When it comes to policy cancellations, the Rand survey found that fewer than a million people who had health insurance at the start of 2013 are now uninsured because their policies were canceled because it didn’t meet minimum coverage under the ACA.
Overall, McClatchy reported that the health care law has created “the largest expansion in health coverage in half a century.”
As the signups ramped up through Monday night, support for the law is breaking even with voters, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll. While not majority support, and well inside the margin of error, by a 49-48 percent margin, Americans supported the ACA overall.
Other polls have found different support levels, but most have found that the gap between support and opposition to the ACA is slowly changing. More crucial politically, is that most polling shows that disapproval with the ACA doesn’t equal support for repealing the law.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 59 percent of those surveyed said they want Congress to keep the law in place and work to improve it rather than repeal it and replace it with a GOP alternative or repeal it outright.
Still, House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that the “whole law” is the problem.
“House Republicans will continue to work to repeal this law and protect families and small businesses from its harmful consequences,” Boehner told the Washington Post Monday.
Speaker Boehner’s strategy of staying on the repeal message is a political gamble Republicans feel like they can win in big numbers. Because it’s a mid-term election this year, the GOP typically does better with turnout.
Since the ACA remains politically toxic to more than half of Republican voters, focusing on repeal and anti-ACA messaging will, Republicans hope, drive voter turnout in November.
The bigger problem for the ACA is one year will not determine whether or not the law is a success. Insurance companies came in with rates much cheaper than expected this year, but the makeup of those signing up and other factors could spark a big rate increase.
While the White House is breathing a sigh of relief this year, sustainability will be the key to the future success of the ACA both politically and practically.