Originally published in the Tallahassee Democrat
By Robert Weiner and Daniel Khan
One of the biggest issues in the presidential election is a recurring Republican critique of the Affordable Care Act: the supposedly massive healthcare price spikes. Frontrunner Donald Trump said, "I don't know if you have been watching lately -- people's premiums are going up 35, 45, 55 percent. Their deductibles are so high nobody's ever going to get to use it. Obamacare is turning out to be a bigger disaster than anybody thought."
The results speak otherwise. President Obama said, "Contrary to some of the predictions of the naysayers, not only is the program working, but we've actually seen health care inflation lower than it's been in 50 years."
It is true that employer-based insurance premiums increased 26% from 2009 to 2014, but prior to the passage of the ACA, they went up 34% from 2004 to 2009 and 72% from 1999 to 2004.
Twenty million more Americans now have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, including nearly 8 million new Medicaid enrollees under Obamacare's expansion, according to Obamcarefacts.com.
People will be living longer. According to a Harvard School of Public Health study of Massachusetts, "In each of the first four years of the state law, 320 fewer Massachusetts men and women died than would have been expected. That's one life extended for every 830 newly insured residents." Another study, by the American Journal of Public Health, shows that nearly 45,000 people die every year due to a lack of health insurance.
Yet the literally sickening (potentially to millions) refrain persists, "Repeal and replace Obamacare." The House has now voted to repeal it 63 time (but never with the replace part, since they'd actually use Obamacare provisions).
Even in Kentucky, with uninsured down to an all-time low 7.5 percent there, U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, takes credit for the insurance expansion by his state--but refuses to publicly acknowledge it's because of and under Obamacare. It's as though it came rom the sky.