Political Animal


December 19, 2011 1:10 PM Affordable Care Act, still working

By Steve Benen

A small business owner in Michigan wrote an interesting piece for his local newspaper the other day, noting how tax credits from the Affordable Care Act are making a real difference, and even helping create jobs. That’s good to hear.

The piece comes, by the way, on the heels of reports that the health care reform law is delivering big savings for seniors on prescription drug costs. And that came on the heels of evidence that the ACA is providing treatment options for cancer patients like Spike Dolomite Ward. And that came on the heels of news that the law is slowing the growth of Medicare spending.

Let’s also not overlook the news from last week about the millions of younger Americans who are getting coverage thanks to consumer protections that are now in place.

President Obama’s health care reforms have allowed 2.5 million young adults to get medical coverage, according to a new analysis that the Obama administration is set to release Wednesday.

The Obama administration says the dramatic decrease in the number of uninsured young adults is due to the president’s signature health care reforms, reports the AP, which obtained a copy of the analysis.

“The increase in coverage among 19- to 25-year-olds can be directly attributed to the Affordable Care Act’s new dependent coverage provision,” said a draft report from the Health and Human Services Department.

Under the health care reforms, 19- to 25-year-olds can remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26, a provision which went into effect last fall.

Much of the new law won’t take effect until 2014, assuming it survives until then. But in the meantime, is it too much to ask that the political world pause to notice that the Affordable Care Act is working?

Millions of Americans have health insurance right now who otherwise wouldn’t. Millions of seniors can now afford medication they would otherwise struggle to pay for. Small businesses are getting tax breaks right now that are helping these enterprises grow and expand. These are tangible, real-world benefits, making a meaningful difference.

And if Republicans repeal the law, all of these benefits will simply disappear. It’s something voters may want to keep in mind.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • Burr Deming on December 19, 2011 1:18 PM:

    We can hope that reality overcomes the myths, half-truths, and heavy handed video editing that you keep pointing out, Steve.

  • c u n d gulag on December 19, 2011 1:19 PM:

    But, but, but... the ACA DOESN'T work!

    We know this because all of the Republicans whine about it!

    I have a way to run this country:
    Throw money at any and every thing the Republicans bitch about.
    If they hate it - it must be working just fine!

  • Hedda Peraz on December 19, 2011 1:21 PM:

    This Affordable Care Act sounds like just the ticket to replace the failed ObamaCare!

  • bleh on December 19, 2011 1:26 PM:

    Aiyeee, Marxist Fascist sociamalism! Jackbooted big gummint UN helicopter thugs! Unionized janitors!

    Only Free Enterprise and slashing government services and giving more and bigger tax cuts to Job Creators can save us! Aiyeee!

  • Holmes on December 19, 2011 1:48 PM:

    Both sides!

  • zeitgeist on December 19, 2011 1:48 PM:

    and again I ask, where are the SuperPACs from the left?

    i know the real-world answer, because this is a fight I've had for years. I am told "better to save the money for when the Presidential campaign really heats up then to spend it on general issue advertising when the only game in town is the Republican primary." I disagree: impressions are long, even if subtly, set by the time Labor Day of Election Year rolls around. Rather than trying to make up ground, better to have an ongong message year round about the good things Obama (or Democrats generally) do for the American public.

  • stormskies on December 19, 2011 1:51 PM:

    Let's not forget one of the comments made by that shit stain of a Senator from Kansas known a Roberts during the process leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act: "The people may like this". Yes, this is what the shit stain said reflecting the fear of all the Repiglican/Corporate Senators and Congress that the corporate health industry would not be able to make as much profit from peoples heath problems as possible.

    Dutifully the corporate media fell in line to do all they could to undermine ACA ......

    So of course, we will hear and see absolutely nothing via the corporate media about the actual reality: people do indeed like it. Just ask the corporate whores like David "I am not a corporate used condom" Gregory why General Electric pays him 2 million a year. He knows the answer of course which is why we will not see one of these corporate whores talk about the actual reality of 'people liking it' on any form of the corporate media.

  • Ron Byers on December 19, 2011 1:51 PM:

    I am sure the voters will keep the success of the ACA in mind just as soon as our media companies tell them about the successes.

    Ok, telling the truth isn't the job of the media, then how about the voters will keep the success of the ACA in mind just as soon as Democratic officeholders tell them about the successes.

    Ok, you mean to say that telling the ruth about the ACA isn't the job of run of the mill Democratic office holders, then I guess the only guy who is going to tell the success stories will be that Keynan Socialist/Fascist Obummer character. Well nobody listens to him cause he is trying to steal our freedoms, including the freedom to pay more to insurance companies for less.

    I guess that means people will cheer the repeal of the ACA and wonder why their costs have gone up and coverage has gone down.

    BTW, what I am trying to say is that you and I can't depend on others to tell the truth about the ACA. We are going to have to do it ourselves.

  • Daniel Kim on December 19, 2011 2:11 PM:

    From the linked item:

    "Here's how it worked for us. Last spring, when the tea leaves of commerce were hard to read, the tax credit gave me the confidence to hire a new full-time employee."

    So . . . the ACA helped overcome the oft-cited 'uncertainty issue' and encouraged job creation.

  • Jon Marfelson on December 19, 2011 4:38 PM:

    So, lowering taxes and issuing tax credits helps the economy. Good to know.

    Also, progressives are fond of saying businesses only hire when demand increases, not just when they receive a tax cut. This letter seems to fly in the face of that.

    Which is it?

  • EriktheRed on December 19, 2011 5:45 PM:

    Touche, Jon

    However, who's to say that for this particular business the demand wasn't already there and he just needed an extra economic incentive?

    Anyway, despite your attempts to deflect, the main point here is that "Obamacare" isn't the horrible non-working monstrosity you Cons like to make it out to be.

    It won't get reapealed under a Republican President, either, snce it's already helping too many people for them to dare get rid of it.

  • Beauzeaux on December 19, 2011 5:47 PM:

    "Also, progressives are fond of saying businesses only hire when demand increases, not just when they receive a tax cut. This letter seems to fly in the face of that."

    One employee in one place. Good news for the employee but not what you could call a trend.

  • June on December 19, 2011 6:02 PM:

    @Jon, admittedly, I may not know what "progressives" out here are saying, but I do know Pres. Obama specifically talked about this tax credit measure during the HCR debates, saying it was one of several ways of spurring hiring by small businesses, or, at the least, of giving them incentives to not lay off employees because of astronomical healthcare costs.

    This was specifically a component of job-creation - and apparently, from the letter, it also helped pour money into the local economy to create greater demand for goods and services.

  • Oyka on December 19, 2011 6:32 PM:

    @Jon: demand IS the main determinant. That is not to say it is the only determinant. The best way to think about this is to think:

    If the demand for his product or service was not there sufficiently, would an extra tax credit promote another job. Probably not. Incentives can help on the margins in prompting the decision to hire, but demand is typically the main determinant.