A new report says that 16.4 million Americans now have health insurance that would not have had it previously because of the Affordable Care Act. The numbers are particularly high for black and Latino Americans. Naturally, the Republicans in Congress are still trying to repeal the ACA and kick those people back into the ranks of the uninsured.
Nonetheless, the new plan from Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who chairs the committee, represents the latest effort in the GOP’s ongoing quest to repeal and replace Obamacare — an effort that has spanned the last several years, despite little discernible progress.
In addition to repealing Obamacare altogether, the House committee’s proposed budget will also reportedly include parliamentary language that will allow the Senate to pass Obamacare repeal with a simple majority. This process, called “budget reconciliation,” allows the GOP-controlled Senate to deliver their policies straight to President Obama’s desk, which he then has the opportunity to veto.
The proposal to roll back the Affordable Care Act comes on the same week that the Obama administration announced that 16.4 million previously uninsured Americans have gained insurance coverage under the law.
According to the latest figures from the Department of Health and Human Services, the country’s uninsurance rate has fallen by 35 percent thanks to the health care reform law. Federal officials say that represents the largest drop in the number of uninsured Americans in the past 40 years, and have referred to it as “quite simply an historic reduction.”
The coverage gains have been most dramatic for communities of color, who have historically lacked access to affordable insurance at higher rates. Since Obamacare’s first enrollment period opened in October 2013, the uninsured rate among Latinos has fallen by 12.3 percent. During the same time period, the uninsured rate among black Americans was nearly cut in half, dropping from 22.4 percent to 13.2 percent.
You know who really doesn’t want to repeal the ACA? The hospital industry, which has seen a sharp drop in uncompensated care because of the dramatic increase in the number of people with insurance. Even the insurance companies probably don’t want it at this point, since they’ve found it’s quite profitable to sell policies through the ACA insurance exchanges (which is why so many new companies jumped in during year two). But the Republican dream of ensuring that as many people as possible don’t have access to affordable health care is a dream that will not die.