Peter Lizdas: Affordable care helping uninsured numbers

08/14/2014 4:12 PM

08/15/2014 12:16 AM

In the pages of the Sun-Star last week, both Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and right-wing cartoonist Lisa Benson have characterized and caricatured, respectively, the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) as somehow being a failure or a wreck. All I can say is that neither of these opinionators seem to be paying attention to what’s actually happening. The ACA is, in fact, bringing down the numbers of the uninsured and otherwise strengthening the health insurance system, as intended. It is true the effectiveness of the ACA in reducing the ranks of the uninsured has varied widely state by state. As a rule, in states such as California, where government officials made the effort to make the ACA work, the uninsured rate dropped 4 percent. In “rejectionist” (read “red”) states, uninsured rates have only dropped about 2.2 percent, according to Gallup. In one famously red state, Kansas, uninsured rates have actually increased 5 percent. As time passes, and the benefits of the ACA become evident to more people, one can only hope people living in red states will demand that state officials make available to them what the people of the blue states now have. If they don’t, their states will suffer and continue to fall further behind others in quality of life and prosperity.

Peter Lizdas, Merced

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