Good news everybody

Just some more good news:

and the good news will probably continue for the first quarter of 2016:

So in 3 years, all of the data sources suggest that we’ve cut the uninsured rate in half and slowed the cost curve. There are another couple percentage points of easy gains once the rest of the Confederacy and the everyone between the Mississippi’s left bank and the Columbia’s south bank expand Medicaid.

Then we’ll actually need to take another whack to get the last 5% of the population covered AND get better coverage for 25% to 30% of the currently covered population.

32 replies
  1. 1
    Applejinx says:

    I always read these posts as ‘number of people who are signed up for Amazon Prime’.

    Which ain’t a bad analogy, as Balloon Juice DOES use an Amazon affiliate link, plus it has that ‘insurance below’ link right up top, in an even better promotional place, and not even flagged as an advertisement.

    We could also make a special effort to get the last 5% of the population signed up to Amazon Prime, too. I don’t see it as a worse commercial product than health insurance, because I’ve been following the reports of their warehouse labor conditions, and it seems kind of all of a piece.

    I just advocate having a perspective on all this. And by all means, cut the uninsured rate and the un-Amazon-Prime rate in half if such things please you. I’m not sure conflating private health insurance and Medicaid is quite how I see things, though. I’m more on the ‘expand Medicaid’ side of things, and it seems to me they compete.

  2. 2
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Thanks Obama!!

  3. 3
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @Applejinx: Okay, get 218-51-1-5 or at least a plausible pathway that does not involve unicorns shitting bricks…

    Expanding Medicaid/CHIP/Medicare to all people currently eligible and then increasing the eligible space is a good idea, but the question is how the hell do we do it in the current political arrangement?

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    Thanks, Richard. Imagine where we’d be if we came out in 2010.

  5. 5
    Hillary Rettig says:

    Richard – I was in the hair salon yesterday and a woman started going on about how Obamacare is terrible – how it costs hundreds of dollars a month for a policy that covers nothing. This is in Michigan. I don’t know her or any details of her situation although she said it’s been years since she’s been insured, due to the cost.

    Is there a kind of boilerplate comment in defense of Obamacare one can say at times like this?

  6. 6
    John D. says:


    I just advocate having a perspective on all this.

    Oh, do shut up.

    Here’s the perspective: People can receive healthcare that they could not before. Fewer people are now suffering and dying needlessly. You can want more solutions. You can want better solutions. But for God’s sake, stop acting like this is equivalent to a fucking #firstworldproblems goddamn convenience.

    There are ways to fight for improvements that do not start by denigrating the real, tangible advances we have made.

  7. 7

    Thanks for this, Richard. Somehow it seems startling sitting on the same page with all the posts about last night’s debate. Turns out govt can fight its way to policy that actually helps people.

  8. 8
    Applejinx says:

    @Richard Mayhew: I’m not saying I can do that. Nature of the world, really, as it’s currently constituted. All I’m doing is pointing out that nature. By all means carry on.

    There are things in the political sphere way better, and WAY worse than signing all of America up to well-regulated private insurance.

    It’s certainly way out of my price range. I got nothin’, you’re not going to have a product to serve me (by connecting me to health care and buffering otherwise insurmountable black-swan events in my medical life) unless I suddenly jump into the middle class, or at least what used to be the working class. For that reason I don’t feel I personally need to celebrate your industry, and there have been many posts and analyses I’ve let pass without bitching about it. If it’s not okay for me EVER to vent, that’s unfortunate. It’s not like I have any power to do you the least bit of damage.

  9. 9
    Eunicecycle says:

    Hillary, I don’t know if it helps, but maybe you could point out the fact that you can’t be denied for pre-existing conditions and the insurance company can no longer cancel your insurance just for getting sick. To me, those are the most important provisions. I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Just this week my 63 year old husband was forced to retire (job eliminated) and my job is shaky. If we both lost our jobs and were thrown into the “old market”, it is highly unlikely I could get insurance even if we could afford it. I am only 60, so I would have to wait 5 years to get onto Medicare. We would have to choose between going broke to treat my cancer or just praying it is slow growing. I have never been sick before, so this whole thing has been very anxiety producing. But I have not had to deal with the additional anxiety of being uninsured through it. I can’t imagine that. And your friend at the beauty shop doesn’t know when she will find that lump on her breast or get an abnormal mammogram.

  10. 10
    Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class says:


    I’m thinking that the notion of a career as a “game designer” is one of those “super reward if you hit, but life is a shit sandwich without bread” if you don’t.

    You chose that particular risk as opposed to going into conventional, routine paying aspects of IT, yet want pity for it.

    Suck it, you’re an asshole. If you weren’t an asshole, you’d have probably hooked up with a more successful design team by now.

  11. 11
    SRW1 says:

    Totally OT, sorry, but it appears that the arrows at the bottom to go back to previous pages no worky.

    I was trying to look again at the Google spreadsheet with the GOP delegate projections by Doug! or mistermix, but couldn’t go back to that post. Clicking the button to go back (or a page number) makes the site re-load, but it always brings up the latest (ie the top) page.

    (Using Firefox, if that is of any relevance.)

  12. 12
    sherparick says:

    @Applejinx: Without giving anything a way, do you live in a Red state that has refused to expend Medicare?

    I note that today’s job report is likely to show another 150,000 to 200,000 jobs added to the economy and the unemployment rate near its pre-recession 2007 lows (and probably approaching the late 1990s levels by election). So again, thanks Obama (Presidents impact on an economy can be overstated; their positive impacts are steady policies that favor the broad amount of the population, and choose and support good Federal Reserve Board members. Bernanke and Yellin have their faults, but in the teeth of fierce criticism they have done what was necessary to keep the economy recovering.)

    In the Conservative bubble none of this good news penetrates. America is a wasteland, being overrun by moochers coming over the Mexican border. Chris Hayes had Jan Brewer, former Governor Arizona on his show last night. When she went on about why she was supporting Trump because “America was not being defended anymore, the border is open and millions are crossing it, Hayes pointed that according to Census bureau and private surveys the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has fallen by 2 million under Obama and that its at the lowest level in 10 years, she responded: “I don’t believe it.” And their you have it. Since the Kenyan Usurper Democrat is President, the country by rules of Conservative doctrine, must be going to hell in a hand basket.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Steeplejack says:


    You can get a “front page” list of any day’s posts by typing in the URL for that date, e.g.:

    And here’s the post you wanted: “Reporters Don’t Want to Count.”

  15. 15
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Hillary Rettig:

    I don’t know her or any details of her situation although she said it’s been years since she’s been insured, due to the cost.

    Then you say that it’d be really terrible if she got really sick — insta-bankruptcy terrible — and pretty terrible if she had any pre-existing conditions.

    I think it’s a valid complaint — it’s important to deliver concrete benefits immediately as well as in times when things get horrible and expensive, which is why ‘skin in the game’ stuff is bullshit — but this is America where you can’t have nice things because the Republicans won’t countenance it.

  16. 16
    sherparick says:

    Kthug goes the full Driftglass on Republicans and their MSM Village “Both Sides” enablers today. And he, as Charlie Pierce did yesterday, points out that the reason the Republican establishment is so mad at Trump is for blowing the whistle on the on-going con the Republican establishment has been playing with its white nationalist, working class base.

  17. 17
    dww44 says:

    As one who resides somewhere between these two:

    There are another couple percentage points of easy gains once the rest of the Confederacy and the everyone between the Mississippi’s left bank and the Columbia’s south bank expand Medicaid.

    I have to chuckle. My GOP congressman just sent me a survey so that I can rank issues at the top of my list. Repealing and REPLACING Obamacare was at the top of his, along with destroying ISIS and illegal immigration.

    They never give up! We need to stay focused and GOTV in November:

  18. 18
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    I will say that that the uninsured rate and cost curve are mainly interesting to people in the healthcare biznez.

    We’re not going to have good data on outcomes for years, but in the meantime, I’m interested in utilisation rates and things like ER usage vs urgent care, and also the amount of primary care utilisation. As I said elsethread, there are plenty of states that essentially run a healthcare deficit — a backlog of necessary treatment — and it’s going to take time for that to clear, because there probably aren’t enough PCPs right now and there won’t be for a while.

  19. 19
    Applejinx says:

    @Botsplainer, Cryptofascist Tool of the Oppressor Class: No, honestly, I’m not. I’m a little snippy about corporatism, nothing more.

    And I’ve been a computer programmer for years, trying to branch off into game designing is nothing more than a logical outgrowth of what I already do. It’s not some ‘randomly pick celebrity job description and get mad when it doesn’t work’. I’m afraid your attitude isn’t justified.

  20. 20
    SRW1 says:


    Thank you very much. For the tip, as well as the link.

  21. 21
    Peale says:

    @Applejinx: be careful complaining about labor conditions for office workers. You wouldn’t want to give off the impression that you aren’t pro labor, but actually anti-work.

  22. 22

    @Hillary Rettig: Nope. It’s an awful system, just better than the one we had before. About two months ago, I wrote a post, I Hate Explaining the ACA. At the end of it, I wrote:

    I have gotten to hate explaining to people on the right that this is the system they asked for, and debunking right-wing lies. I have gotten to hate explaining to people on the left that, yes, this is a rotten system and it is nonetheless an improvement. And I have gotten to hate explaining to my friends and family the reasons to sign up, even though it’s a crappy system and an extra expense.

    @pseudonymous in nc: “Then you say that it’d be really terrible if she got really sick — insta-bankruptcy terrible — and pretty terrible if she had any pre-existing conditions.”

    Given typical deductibles, it could be insta-bankruptcy anyway. And, yes, sometimes the ACA saves lives and the plan rates for prescription drugs are a good deal. But often it is insurance you can’t use, at a price you can’t afford.

    Obama and the Democratic Party seem hell-bent on proving what conservatives have been saying all along: that government-run health care is bad idea. Thanks, guys.

  23. 23
    Applejinx says:

    @Peale: Amazon isn’t office work, computers do that. It’s really, really intense warehouse work, from which some workers have simply dropped dead in their tracks, unable to keep up with the demand. I know of one that dropped dead on the shop floor, IIRC: it was a fairly big deal at the time. I don’t think things have changed much over there: until they fire all the people and replace them with real robots, that’s all there is.

  24. 24
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Applejinx: A computer programmer with contempt for “corporate” things? Let me guess, you’re inordinately proud not to have to wear a tie to work.

  25. 25

    @Peale: See Inside Amazon’s Warehouse, by a newspaper local to one of Amazon’s warehouses. If Amazon wasn’t allowed to operate its warehouses in sweatshop conditions, it would be a different and probably much less successful company. But that’s not even the worst of it: the worst of it is the working conditions in the places where the products are made. Amazon’s monopsony drives prices so low that suppliers have to turn to hellhole workplaces outside of the USA, where even the limited protections of US labor law don’t exist.

    If anyone would like to buy books online from a union workplace that doesn’t treat its employees like dirt, try

  26. 26
    J R in WV says:

    @Raven Onthill:

    I use Powells when I can’t easily obtain a specific book from a local independent book shop. Pretty rare,though. if I have the ISBN for a book, my local book shop can order it for me.

    For rare or historical books, the innertubes can find other book sellers that have those books available, I don’t do business with Amazon, not ever.

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:


    So I assume you live in a red state that refused to expand Medicaid? If not, I’m not sure how else you fell into a donut hole where you can’t get either Medicaid or a subsidy.

    And, yes, I can tell you’ve never had a chronic illness or condition that made you uninsurable. Some people don’t have the luxury of going without insurance, especially now that there’s a ceiling on how much you have to pay out of pocket.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Raven Onthill:

    No one is saying ACA is perfect. I can think of half a dozen fixes it needs off the top of my head, including closing the donut hole in asshole non-expansion states and fixing the cost issues in low-population, high-cost states.

    We have a foundation that we can now build on. Why are we supposed to blow it up and start over from scratch rather than building on what’s already there? Read the PPACA more carefully — it’s designed to squeeze out for-profit companies as time goes on. It’s all right there in the legislation.

  29. 29

    @Mnemosyne: it is designed to squeeze the inefficient insurers out over time without regard to their tax filing status.

  30. 30
    1stgengirl says:

    Please comment on the plethora of articles about exchanges folding and skyrocketing premiums. A Republican friend is inundating me with this information while whining that Kaiser had to buy Group Health in WA State because Group Health was spending more than what they were taking in. It’s a non-profit.

  31. 31
    Hillary Rettig says:

    @Eunicecycle: I’m so sorry about what you and your husband are going through! Beyond stressful. I will be thinking of you and wishing you well.

    btw, I did get the sense this woman had a pre-existing condition.

  32. 32

    @1stgengirl: group health had been around since the late 40s and doing well overall. The Kaiser but out was a logical business decision as GH is structurally similar to Kaiser and Kaiser has been slowly building their footprint nationally

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