Obamacare has led to many more people obtaining health insurance than has been previously reported, maybe millions more, according to a new study from the Santa Monica, California, based think tank, the Rand Corporation. The 66-year-old, nonpartisan research organization issued a report Tuesday, concluding that between September of last year and March of 2014, 9.3 million more people have health insurance than were covered before last September.
The study found that uninsured people ages 18-64 fell to 31.4 million from 40.7 million, a 23% plummet.
The Rand study, based on a survey of almost 2,500 Americans, also found that the number of people who lost coverage as a result of Obamacare — formally known as the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act — was fewer than one million, a figure that amounts to less than one percent of the U.S. adult population ages 18 to 64.
So-called “Obamacare horror stories” of people who have supposedly been kicked off of their health plans as a result of the new Obamacare requirements, have been the focus of an intense campaign to discredit the new health care law.
The percentage of Americans who are without health insurance dropped from 20.5 percent prior to September of 2013, to 15.8 percent in March of this year. That number has likely fallen further since the Rand Obamacare study was completed, because the report does not take into account the last-minute surge in enrollments that occurred on and just prior to the March 31 deadline.
The 9.3 million number, according to the Rand study, includes not only those who signed up for plans through the state and national health care exchanges set up under Obamacare and those who qualified for Medicaid under new, loosened qualification requirements, but also Americans who became newly covered by employer health insurance plans.
In fact, between 8.2 million people signed up for health coverage under their employers’ plans who had not done so before last September.
While the Rand authors did not try to determine why employer plans saw a surge in enrollment, Larry Levitt of the nonprofit and nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation believes that a percentage of those who recently obtained employer coverage may have been driven by the individual mandate provision of the Obamacare law.
There is no requirement under the law to purchase insurance through one of the health care exchanges to avoid paying a financial penalty — only that an individual obtain health coverage from some source that meets the laws basic requirements.
The jump in employer coverage also contradicts another major point of the anti-Obamacare campaign, in which critics predicted a significant drop in employer coverage. But not only did that drop never materialize, the opposite happened. Since the advent of Obamacare, employer coverage has risen sharply.