When the Census Bureau released the latest numbers on insurance coverage, I wrote a post to highlight that nearly 500,000 young adults went from being uninsured to having insurance. An excerpt from that post actually got picked up by Jonathan Cohn at TNR. Now there’s more evidence that ObamaCare is working for both young and old Americans. The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that, in fact, more than 2.5 million Americans between the ages of 19 and 25 were covered by their parents’ health insurance in the first half of 2011. That’s not surprising given that the Affordable Care Act included a provision that allows those under age 26 to remain on their parents’ coverage.
And the good news isn’t just for twenty-somethings. Early data show that America’s seniors are also benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. How you ask? Well, one of the first provisions enacted targeted the Medicare Part D “donut hole.” Part D is the program that provides prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries, and it was designed with a giant gap in coverage right where people needed it most. (As an aside, that was done for purely political reasons, to keep the price tag a little lower on the legislation when it was being debated on Capitol Hill.) Well, ObamaCare didn’t completely eliminate the donut hole, but it did shrink it, by reducing the proportion of costs the beneficiary is responsible for. The result? Nearly 2.7 million older Americans saved an average of $569 each on their prescription drugs through October 2011. Moreover, some 24 million Medicare beneficiaries received free preventive care. This is good news served with a side of good news.
It’s true that health reform is still very much in the process of being implemented. My glasses are not so rose-colored as to expect that every element of the law will be a success. Some things won’t work, and will need to be retooled or abandoned. But some things, as these developments underscore, will be successful, and when that happens, it should be roundly acknowledged.