President Obama has achieved a first for a sitting chairperson he’s published a newspaper in a leading peer-reviewed periodical. The newspaper reviews the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, summarizes its effects, and considers what can be done in the future.
Being president doesn’t usually leave a lot of period for other intellectual quests, and some recent occupants of the White House never seemed to have had much respect for science in the first place. Obama has always been different in that respect. John Holdren, Obama’s science advisor, described how his boss enjoyed questioning scientists about their work more than his time with sports stars.
Now, Obama has joined the ranks of public health researchers as sole writer of a newspaper in the Journal of the American Medical Association( JAMA ), in whichhe reviews his most famous work, often known as Obamacare.
The paper includes a little on the history of the Act’s passage, but the focus is on how it has operated.
As this graph depicts, Obamacare has achieved its primary goal, slashing the proportion of Americans without health insurance by nearly half. This is by far the largest decline in the uninsured rate since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid 5 decades ago. Recent analysishave concluded these gains are mainly because of the ACA, rather than other factors such as the ongoing economic recovery, Obama observes.
The effect has not been even throughout the country, however. The Act included funding to assist states in expanding Medicaid to low-income populations who were previously ineligible. However, Republican governors in some states chose to refuse the funding.
Obama breaks down the improvement between states that did and those that did not expand Medicaid. As the graph below shows, the decline in the uninsured proportion of the population is strongly correlated with the number of uninsured prior to the opening of the Act’s introduction, but the autumn has been considerably larger in the states that accepted the additional Medicaid money.
Moreover, Obama claims, The law has also greatly improved health insurance coverage for people who already had it, since certain minimum services must be included, such as “maternity care and treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders, services that were sometimes not covered at all previously. Prevention is usually cheaper than remedy, and the Act has prioritized this in a number of ways, as well as banning the lifetime limits on pays that often saw families go bankrupt where a participant was stuck with a particularly expensive condition.
Costs for the US healthcare system as a whole have risen at the same rate as inflation, is comparable to far more rapid growth in the previous decade, something thathad been expected to continue prior to the opening of the Act.
As Obama argues: Many of the reforms introduced in recent years are still some years from reaching their maximum effect. However, he does not regard the project of reforming the US health system, which continues to cost more than any other country while delivering lower measurable standards than the rest of the developed world, as completed. Consequently, the paper includes ways the Act could be extended to improve it further, including a public plan thatwas in the original act, but was dropped in order to win supporting from vacillating senators.
JAMA also ran four editorials from public health experts with differing perspectives on how successful the act has been.