In the months previous to the time it came to sign up for the exchanges there was lots of concern being voiced not only in the media but in the congress as well regarding the impact that enforcing the mandates would have. Senator Max Baucus, a democrat who helped writhe the law, referred to the implementation of obamacare as a "trainwreck" in april of 2013. He seemed especially concerned about the employer mandate. In July Obama signed an executive order to delay the employer mandate until 2015.
All the concern about the implementation of the law and how succesful it would actually be at insuring the uninsured prompted president Obama to shift the topic away from that goal and talk about how according to him it is working great for the people who already have it. He was actually trying to downplay the importance insuring the uninsured. Emphasizing instead that 85% of the people already have insurance and it's "working just fine for them." He specifically pointed to some more minor aspects of the law that had nothing to do with employer or individual mandates.
Now that the sign-up period for individuals is over we can analyze a little further. Just how many people have insurance that previously did not. The administration has told us about 8 million people have signed up for health insurance through the exchanges. We can't be sure how many of those actually paid, but it is probably most. It turns out however, although there are no hard numbers available, most of these people already had health insurance. A closer look at those who had health insurance would probably reveal that some had very inadequate but many had legitamate insurance, in some case comparable or better.
The LA times broke a story that was picked that got huge headlines at NBC.com announcing that the number of uninsured has been reduced by 9.5 million. That number has been picked apart by critics already. 4.5 million of that is simply due to expanding medicaid. Some say medicaid was going to expand by over a million without any changes in the law. Nevertheless, we didn't need obamacare exchanges to expand medicaid anyway. The get 3.1 million because of the part of the law that allows children to stay on their parents insurance policy until they are 26 years old. But other surveys have said this only helped insure 1.4 to 1.6 million. Besides, once again, we didn't need obamacare to have this part of the law.
How many have gotten health insurance through the exchanges who were previously uninsured? 1.9 million
This is the real question. And according to the numbers it only comes to about 1.9 million. You might be able to add a little to that because some had truly inadequate health insurance by any reasonable standard - not just obamacare standards. But many who already had health insurance did have adequate health insurance. They didn't meet obamacare standards because they didn't their plan didn't cover birth control: even if they were a guy. Perhaps 3 million if you include the truly underinsured. Some of those who didn't have insuranc had the ability to afford it but chose not to have it. probably because they are young. You really didn't need obamacare for that either. Just pass a law saying anyone above a certain income has to buy health insurance. I would say maybe the uninsured has been reduced by maybe 1% o fthe population because of the exchanges. Or to put it in other terms, only a little over 5% of the uninsured have gained insurance because of the exchanges and that is if you unclude some under-insured. I don't know how many were truly underinsured of the previously insured, which came to about 6.1 million. I don't think you can justify making such a big change for such small results.
Consequences of Obamacare?