Health care law results so far

A report from Health News Digest notes that although only a limited number of changes have come into effect so far as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (what some call “Obamacare”), the improvements for Medicare beneficiaries in particular have been significant. Since the start of 2011, 2.2 million Medicare recipients have saved an average of $550 each on prescription drugs thanks to improvements in Medicare Part D, and another 22.6 million have taken advantage of at lease one of the free preventive care benefits, such as a free annual physical, diabetes screening, help quitting smoking, etc.

As other sources have noted, since the law now permits children to stay on family insurance policies until age 26, a significantly larger number of young people still in college or working entry-level jobs without health coverage are now insured.

Of course, the major features of the law are yet to take effect. Surveys show a broadly negative view of it, though majorities support almost all of the law’s provisions when asked about them. It appears to me that objections are based on misinformation — falsehoods about the effects on Medicare, ridiculous stories of “death panels,” assertions that it’s a “government takeover of healthcare” when it’s nothing remotely of the sort, etc.

More on this in later posts.

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