Break out the champagne, folks! Time to celebrate. Far from being the “train wreck” detractors dubbed it, the Affordable Care Act is well on track, rushing headlong into a happier future when all Americans will have affordable access to health care – just as all other civilized countries do.
As of April 1, 7.1 million people have enrolled in private insurance plans via the ACA, a fact that stunned both advocates and detractors.
In Minnesota, 169,251 people enrolled.
Those numbers may go higher because an extension was granted for those who had trouble enrolling.
What’s truly amazing is almost all of the enrollees must have signed up because they genuinely want health coverage and not because of the rather paltry penalty – only $95. That penalty, however, will increase substantially in the coming years.
Granted, there will be more glitches and plenty of fine-tuning down the track and around the bend to improve ObamaCare. Adjustments always accompany big historical changes, and the Affordable Care Act – not to forget – is the biggest health-care change since Medicare in the mid-1960s.
Despite any glitches, signs of optimism abound. A major source of optimism is the power of good ol’ word-of-mouth. As so many previously uninsured Americans buy into health coverage, they are certain to experience the benefits of health care, including free preventive check-ups that can help nip problems in the bud. Prevention is one of the foundations of the ACA. Those people are sure to share their good news with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. The good news – and good health – will convince others to enroll.
Success stories have already begun to circulate widely. TV cook Rachael Ray, for example, tearfully told Vice President Joe Biden how elated she was that ObamaCare is a lifesaver for her brother, who’d experienced a life-threatening illness. He would not have been able to find insurance without the ACA, which forbids companies from rejecting applicants due to pre-existing conditions. Hopefully, we can expect to see TV ads based on those success stories to counter the inaccurate fear-and-smear ads funded by billionaires.
Some of the possible problems ahead include not enough young and healthy people signing up for plans, the danger of rising monthly premiums (always a danger with insurance rates) and getting help for people who have been dumped because their previous insurance plans were substandard, according to ACA requirements. Those problems are all fixable.
Many ObamaCare detractors had egg on their faces the morning of April 1; many were eating crow for breakfast. But, alas, their whining continues. Minnesota Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston), for instance, whined that lawmakers promised there would be 270,000 Minnesotans signed up. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
There is a saying among a nomadic tribe in North Africa. When they’re ready to pack up and move their encampment to another place, they often say about their restive canines: “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.”
Of ObamaCare this could be said: “The train-wreckers whine, but the train moves on.”