Good news on health care in 2014, but we're still spending too much

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on what went right and what didn’t and to speculate about what might happen in the coming 12 months.So let’s take a look at how the U.S. health care system changed in 2014—the first year of close-to-full implementation of Obamacare—and take note of what we need to address sooner rather than later as we get ready to ring in the new year.There is plenty of reason to celebrate and, as you can imagine, the White House wants us to believe that we can thank the Affordable Care Act for all the good things that happened. While I’m willing to give the law its due, the reality is that, as written, it will never get us to universal coverage or do nearly enough to control health care costs.  But first, some of the good news:

  • As the number of newly insured Americans reached an estimated 9.7 million this year, the percentage of Americans without coverage fell to the lowest level it’s been in years. That’s according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released data last Thursday showing that the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from 14.4 percent in 2013 to 11.3 percent in the second quarter of 2014.  The White House Council of Economic Advisors says that’s the largest drop in at least four decades. The last time so many people gained coverage in a single year was when the Medicare and Medicaid programs began enrolling folks in 1966.  The current gains were made possible by provisions of the Affordable Care Act that make it illegal for insurers to turn down applicants because of pre-existing conditions,  as well as the availability of federal subsidies that help millions of Americans with their premiums and out-of-pocket spending.

Read More.Source: The Center For Public Integrity/Wendell Potter