Though it remains a popular target for Republican attacks, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act appears to have not only substantially reduced the number of Americans who don’t have health insurance, but it also appears that a large percentage of new enrollees are happy with their coverage, according to a new survey.
In fact, the survey by the private nonpartisan group, The Commonwealth Fund, even found that 74 percent of newly insured Republicans liked their new insurance plans — a statistic that is sure to disturb Congressional Republicans who have been trying to repeal Obamacare for years.
The Commonwealth survey revealed that the percentage of uninsured Americans between ages 19 and 64 declined from 20 percent in the summer of 2013 to 15 percent now. That represents an estimated 9.5 million fewer adults without insurance.
As for the satisfaction level, 73 percent of the people who bought health plans and 87 percent of those who signed up for Medicaid said they were somewhat or very satisfied with their new health insurance, according to the survey. This includes 74 percent of newly insured Republicans who liked their plans and 77 percent of people who had insurance before — which includes members of the much-publicized group whose plans got canceled last year.
While the experts expected a decline in the number of uninsured — albeit not such a large decline and so quickly — there wasn’t such an expectation that so many would be happy.
Larry Levitt, the senior vice president for special initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation, another research group that conducts polls on the Affordable Care Act, told the New York Times he suspected that people may not be happy if they were forced to buy insurance to avoid financial penalties.
“It’s possible people may have felt coerced into buying coverage, even if they didn’t like it or didn’t feel it was a good value,” he said to the Times. “That doesn’t seem to be happening so far.”
For adults ages 19 to 34, a population the experts were watching closely, the uninsured rate declined from 28 percent to 18 percent, which amounts to about 5.7 million fewer uninsured young adults. The survey found that 60 percent of adults with new coverage through the marketplaces or Medicaid reported they had visited a doctor or hospital or filled a prescription by last month — and 62 percent of them said they would not have been able to access this care before signing up for Obamacare.