Politics

Obamacare Outperforms Expectations In 2015 (Photos)

| by Robert Fowler

Despite continuing criticism of its effectiveness, data shows the Affordable Care Act has performed beyond expectations in 2015, from slowing health care costs to more people enrolling.

New research from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows health care costs have grown at their slowest rates since 1961, Politicus USA reports.

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The White House put out a statement touting the new data:

"Prices of health care services have risen just 0.7 percent over the past four quarters, extending the recent period of exceptionally slow health care price inflation, while expanding coverage has driven faster growth in aggregate utilization of health care services. Prior to 2015, an increase in health care services prices as low as the 0.7 percent increase over the most recent four quarters had not been seen since 1961."

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Further good news for  President Barack Obama: More people have enrolled in Obamacare than expected in the past year. Roughly 8.3 million Americans enrolled on Healthcare.gov during the Nov. 1-Dec. 17 sign-up period, The Hill reports.

Of the enrollees, 2.4 million are new additions to the health care marketplace, a one-third increase from 2015. Also, the overall numbers are a sharp increase over 2014, when only 6 million Americans signed up or re-enrolled, according to CNBC.

The states with the highest number of enrollees were Florida and Texas, with sign-ups of 1.5 million and 1 million, respectively.

The surprisingly high number of young adult enrollees has pleased Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

“We’re excited about this,” said Burwell. “It’s good news. It means a younger risk pool.”

A risk pool means customer base: the younger the customer base in health care, the more premiums are paid for without health services actually spent, helping make the program more cost effective.

It’s not all good news for Obama’s signature program. The number of doctors’ reporting a “burnout” from too much work has increased from 45 percent in 2011 to 54 percent this year, Forbes reports.

Sources: CNBC, Forbes, The Hill, PoliticusUSA / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons