What have been the real, factual effects of Obamacare?

I’ve just seen that Donald Trump is promising to reform health care. His website says that Obamacare “has tragically but predictably resulted in runaway costs, websites that don’t work, greater rationing of care, higher premiums, less competition and fewer choices. Obamacare has raised the economic uncertainty of every single person residing in this country.”

The Democrats, not surprisingly, tell a different story.

I’m wondering if it’s possible to know what the truth is. Is there even an unbiased “truth” to be known? Has there been an unbiased analysis? Are there any sites that address questions such as “Have average premiums gone up?”, “How many more people are insured now than before Obamacare?”, “How has it affected insurance company and hospital costs and profits?”, and is it even possible to know whether, for the country as a whole, has it had an overall “positive” or “negative” effect?

At least for the question “How many more people are insured now than before Obamacare”, the percentage of uninsured has gone down sharply since the implementation of the ACA, from about 16-18% to 11-12%, the lowest rate of uninsured in several decades. On that count, at least, the ACA has been successful.

While there is no doubt factual information available about the effects of Obamacare, its significance will subject to interpretation. Since this will inevitably draw political commentary, I think it’s better to move this to Great Debates.

General Questions Moderator

The ACA hasn’t stopped horror stories of $30,000 medical bills, apparently.

It’s complicated by the way it’s written. Many of the complaints are for provisions that won’t kick in until later. So all we have to go on are proponents saying things will get better and detractors saying it will get worse once those new rules take effect. To give an example, the “waivers for state innovation” won’t kick in until after 2017. I believe this will be the first year they start penalizing the uninsured for not having coverage under the individual mandate; up until now it was just something people have fretted over, soon it will be something that may actually impact people. I’m sure other changes are coming, I don’t know what they all are.

Ok, I can understand the move, but I want to repeat that my basic question is “are there facts here?”. If there really are no (or few) factual answers that are not open to interpretation and debate, then that’s the answer, at least to what I was asking.

Sorry I don’t have any clear “facts”, but I’ll offer some anecdotes that seem pretty clear to me.

My job deals with individuals seeking disability benefits. Many of these folk are indigent. The past 5 years or so there has been an amazing increase in the level of treatment received by the indigent people i see in my job.

Sorry, no data. But one significant difficulty regarding the average indigent person’s claim used to be a lack of medical records to document the existence and severity of any impairments. Most of the records available were ER visits. Now, I’m seeing indigent folk with primary care physicians, seeing specialists, receiving joint replacements and other significant treatment.

Note, most of the cases I’ve been seeing lately are from WI, so the effect might be different in different states.

Again, sorry not to answer directly, but wanted to offer my impressions.

Of course there are unbiased sources. For that, just don’t look at a conservative source.

Just an impression:

For years, I’ve gotten medical treatment via a major HMO organization. One might think the treatment they provide might be a bit perfunctory. My impression has been that, yes, it tends to be a bit perfunctory, despite being a very comprehensive plan on paper.

Now, onward and upward to Obamacare: ISTM that, like Medicare, this can still be rather perfunctory. They give about as little care as they feel they can get away with. But it does seem to be a bit improved since Obamacare happened. (Note: I am on Medicare, not ACA. But I think my HMO has improved that too, at least a little bit.)

But other people, with good jobs or other income sources, can afford much better private coverage, and really get better medical care.

What I think Obamacare does is make at least some adequate (perhaps barely adequate) level of medical care available to a whole lot of people who previously weren’t getting any at all. And that is something this country very badly needed, and now (somewhat) has.

Well, one effect, according to the government is that twenty million people now have health insurance.

Along similar lines, in my workers’ compensation practice I see far fewer claimants who do not have health insurance (and thus have no other way to obtain medical care than pursuing their workers’ compensation claims) now than three years ago. So workers’ compensation carriers are paying out slightly less in benefits (though as a matter of fact payments have been going down for decades because of increasingly insurer-friendly legislation).

It is a fact that Obamacare resulted in a website that didn’t work, but that was remedied.