Myth or fact? More Americans lost insurance under reform

Washington Post article fact-checks claims made by Republican leaders

Republican leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), have argued that more Americans have lost insurance under healthcare reform than gained it.

Debunking the claim, The Washington Post pointed out that the Affordable Care Act significantly expanded Medicaid, adding about 3.9 million enrollees in only three months. Moreover, the GOP claim incorrectly assumed most people with canceled policies ended up without coverage, when in fact insurers' cancellation letters told members they would automatically get enrolled in another plan.

President Barack Obama also directed his top healthcare advisors to come up with an administrative fix to the canceled health plans, ultimately allowing insurance companies that sent cancellation notices to an estimated two million Americans to reinstate the policies. The Obama administration also opened catastrophic coverage for Americans who haven't replaced their canceled health insurance plans to help smooth the transition for people struggling to find a replacement plan in the new insurance marketplace.

And last month, George Washington University researchers found the Affordable Care Act may increase health insurance coverage rates for up to 6 million immigrants and help close the coverage gap between them and native-born adults.  

The issue isn't that millions of Americans lack coverage under reform, but rather they may have ended up with coverage they don't like, the Post noted.

The Post cautioned against making an apples-to-oranges comparison between the 2.1 million Americans who have signed up for exchange coverage and 4.7 million Americans who saw their plans canceled, since the number of people on exchanges will always fall below the number of people whose plans failed to meet basic standards required by the reform law.

Republicans could argue that some states now have fewer insurance options and that it remains unknown how many Americans were happy with the resulting healthcare choices, the Post noted. In fact, insurers have been dropping out of exchanges across the country while plans sold through state exchanges likely include limited choices of doctors and hospitals, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the Post article

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