It looks like President Obama has made good on his promise to improve health for the country through Obamacare. A new report revealed that health in the United States improved greatly between 2011 and 2014, due to the fact that almost everyone had health insurance. Also, according to U.S. News and World Report, healthcare providers did a better job at treating patients who were insured.
The report is a result of the Commonwealth Fund studying over 300 localities to uncover the results of implementing Obamacare. The Commonwealth Fund discovered that health was improved in every locality, sometimes, on a large scale. The surveyors noticed that the implementation of federal health insurance directly affected healthcare quality and efficiency and also caused shifts in public health policy.
In most of the studied localities, however, the improvements were small and some localities showed that while health improved in some areas, it declined in others or stayed the same. For example, the report mentions that 111 local areas had increased cases of obesity and premature death.
Slight Improvement Is Good Improvement
In a recent press release, leader of the study, Dr. David Blumenthal, explained how the Commonwealth Fund scorecard helps with the measurement of outcomes and explained the variations in health improvement across the 300 localities.
“This scorecard provides an in-depth look at how the health care system is working over time in local communities and how that impacts peoples’ health. There is still a lot of variation, and every community has room to improve. But it is striking to see the early effects of the Affordable Care Act at the local level, as people increasingly get coverage and care and quality improves.”
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The Commonwealth Fund’s survey of Obamacare’s success notes that the following factors contribute to the overall health improvement results:
- federal and state policies
- quality improvement efforts
Despite the fact that poorer communities and remote communities still lag behind wealthy and urban communities in health, Dr. Blumenthal still sees hope, based on this year’s scorecard.
“Many communities are showing signs of getting healthier, and that is encouraging. It shows that with the right policies and actions we can make our health care system work for all of us. Moving forward, we hope that local areas will integrate the lessons from this scorecard into their efforts to ensure that everyone has health insurance, can afford the care they need, and can get the right care at the right time.”
Other Surveys Agree On Obamacare’s Success
The Commonwealth Fund scorecard came after Obamacare expansions were suggested for nation-wide implementation. Unfortunately, only 26 states took advantage of the new Obamacare expansions. In response to the small amount of action toward health improvement, a recent study was conducted by Laura R. Wherry, PhD., and Sarah Miller, PhD. for Annals of Internal Medicine. The study found that Obamacare has, in fact, been successful throughout the past 3 years.
“The ACA Medicaid expansions were associated with higher rates of insurance coverage, improved quality of coverage, increased utilization of some types of health care, and higher rates of diagnosis of chronic health conditions for low-income adults.”
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The Affordable Care Act Tracking Survey noted that belief in Obamacare was not widespread. In fact, there were some concerns that Obamacare holders would not receive equal care and would not have access to certain providers.
“Since the ACA’s major coverage expansions went into effect, there has been concern about difficulty new enrollees might have finding doctors, getting timely appointments, and whether they would be satisfied with their choice of doctors because of insufficient provider capacity or limited provider networks.”
The results in all of the studies and surveys show that Obamacare has improved the healthcare system for both patients and healthcare providers. When asked, Obamacare holders testified to feeling confident that they can now afford healthcare services and get those services at a higher quality than they could have without insurance.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]