New Republic: Obamacare Is Working, But Some Insurers Are Behaving Badly

By Jonathan Cohn

Obamacare got more good news early on Thursday morning. According to a survey from the Commonwealth Fund, the number of people without health insurance dropped by 9.5 million since late last summer. Throw in the young adults who got coverage previously, via their parents’ policies, and the total reduction in the uninsured looks an awful lot like what the experts predicted it would be.

It’s one survey, with a large margin of error, but the results line up nicely with previous findings from organizations like Gallup and the Urban Institute. You don’t have to put much stock in the specific figures to see that the Affordable Care Act is fulfilling one of its primary promises: To make sure more people have health insurance.

If you read QED’s writeup of the survey (the link is here) you’ll see that the Commonwealth Fund asked a bunch of other questions, including some on how those newly insured consumers felt about their policies. Overall, they seem quite happy. But I wouldn’t take that as the final word on how well the program is working for everybody, particularly given some of the other news items that have been popping up lately.

Perhaps the most alarming I’ve seen comes from Florida, where the AIDS Institute and National Health Law Program accuse four insurers of discriminating against customers and potential customers who are HIV-positive. According to an official complaint, filed with the Department of Health and Human Services, the insurers have structured their drug formularies in ways that make key HIV drugs much more expensive.

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