• Private market growth has been slow.
    One of the most frequently heard claims from
     the Obama administration is that Obamacare is
     responsible for insuring 20 million adults who 
    were previously uninsured. But Heritage Foundation 
    research shows the administration’s figure is off by
     a few million.
    The Department of Health and Human Services 
    claims that 20 million people have gained health
     coverage since the enactment of Obamacare in
     2010 through early 2016.
    Of those people, 2.3 million are said to be young 
    adults (ages 19 to 25) that gained coverage between 
    2010 and 2013 as a result of the Obamacare 
    provision allowing them to stay on their parents’ 
    plan until age 26.
    The remaining 17.7 million people gained health 
    insurance from Obamacare’s first open enrollment
     period between October 2013 and early 2016.

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    However, it is important to note that the 
    administration’s coverage estimates are based on
     survey data rather than calculating the actual
     change in coverage in different markets. Though
     surveys can provide useful information, they are 
    not as precise as using enrollment data taken
    directly from insurance companies.
    A recent analysis by The Heritage Foundation’s
     Edmund Haislmaier and Drew Gonshorowski uses
     the more accurate method, taking actual enrollment
     data from Medicaid and private insurance
     companies to assess the impact Obamacare
     has had on coverage.
    The researchers found that just over 14 million
     people gained coverage from the end of 2013 
    to the end of 2015. Of those 14 million, 11.8 million
     gained their insurance through Medicaid and 2.2
     million through private coverage.
    The report provides several key takeaways from
     the first two years of Obamacare’s full
Enrollment in the individual market increased by 5.9 million and the self-insured employer market grew by 3.9 million. However, these increases were largely offset by an enrollment drop of 7.6 million people in fully insured employer group plans. Overall, the net gain in private market coverage was only 2.3 million people.
  • Medicaid enrollment has surged.
In states that adopted Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, enrollment surged by 10.4 million. However, Medicaid enrollment also rose by 1.4 million in states that didn’t expand their Medicaid programs. Overall, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program accounts for 84 percent of the total coverage gains from Obamacare since 2014.
  • Obamacare’s impact is diminishing.
Though only two full years of data are available, Obamacare
 appears to be having less of an impact on both private and
 public insurance markets after its first year of implementation.
For example, while the individual market saw an upsurge of 
40 percent in 2014 (the first year of Obamacare’s implementation),
 it drastically slowed in 2015, with enrollment growth of just
 7 percent.
Likewise, the law seems to be having less impact on the fully insured employer group market. In 2014, enrollment in that sector fell by 11 percent, but in 2015, it nearly broke even, decreasing by only 2 percent. Medicaid enrollment also experienced a similar trend. In states that expanded, enrollment increased 23 percent in 2014 but slowed to 4 percent growth in 2015.
Understanding exactly how Obamacare has affected health coverage is important as Congress works to repeal Obamacare and replace it with market-based reforms in the coming months.