Muckreads Edition

The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 and we’re now in the second year since health insurance exchanges got up and running. So, how’s the law doing? That’s a complicated question.

With the help of senior reporter Charles Ornstein, we’ve curated a list of Obamacare must-reads. Some give analysis of the five-year-old bill. Some point to specific problems – the troubling Medicaid gap in Mississippi, a government staff drowning in paperwork. All show a complicated fight that still has a long road ahead.

We also want to hear about your Obamacare experience. As the ACA launched, we asked you to help us report that story. We are continuing this effort in 2015. If you didn’t enroll, are you now facing tax penalties? If you enrolled, how is your plan working out?

affordable care act enrollment screen

Helps us continue to investigate Obamacare by sharing your story.

Is the Affordable Care Act Working? (New York Times, Oct. 2014)

“After a year fully in place, the Affordable Care Act has largely succeeded in delivering on President Obama’s main promises, an analysis by a team of reporters and data researchers shows. But it has also fallen short in some ways and given rise to a powerful conservative backlash.”

Obamacare is 5 years old, and Americans are still worried about death panels (Vox, March 2015)

“Republicans are significantly more likely to believe these three Obamacare myths than Democrats, a sign of how politics colors the public’s perception of how Obamacare actually works. Republicans, for example, are 25 percent more likely to believe that undocumented workers can get financial help under Obamacare and 15 percent more likely to believe end-of-life panels exist.”

What Obamacare Didn’t Do (California Healthline, March 2015)

“But there are still huge gaps in the system: As many as 3 million Californians remain uninsured, … the ACA’s implementation continues to be bumpy, too. This year’s tax filings are proving to be complicated, and potentially financially painful, for many people who signed up for coverage through the ACA’s exchanges. The Supreme Court may rule this summer that subsidies are illegal on HealthCare.gov, a decision that could force millions of Americans to drop coverage.”

Obamacare Is Turning 5 Years Old, And The Debate Has Barely Changed (Huffington Post, March 2015)

“…efforts to repeal the law politically have repeatedly failed, perhaps because large majorities of Americans approve of the law’s features – and, according to surveys, tend to like their new insurance, even as polls show pluralities disapprove of the law itself.”

Feds Claim Obamacare Launch is Hindering Government Transparency (NPR, March 2015)

“A heavy workload caused by the Affordable Care Act, government technology limits and staff shortages are causing unusually long delays in filling public records requests, federal health officials say. The waits in some cases could stretch out a decade or more.”

Under Health Care Act, Many Tax Filers Are Discovering Costly Complications (The New York Times, March 2015)

“Under the Affordable Care Act, people who remained uninsured last year must either pay a penalty with their taxes, one of the most contentious elements of the law, or claim an exemption. The Obama administration has said up to six million people would owe a penalty of $95 or 1 percent of their household income, whichever is greater.”

Mississippi, Burned: How the poorest, sickest state got left behind by Obamacare (POLITICO, Nov./Dec. 2014)

“The more significant drag on sign-ups, though, was Mississippi’s decision not to expand Medicaid. The state’s low standard of living means many people earn less than the federal poverty limit but too much for Medicaid; under the health law, they can’t buy insurance on the exchange, leaving 138,000 Mississippians who fall into what has come to be known as the Medicaid gap.”

The federal health care law: What came true and what didn’t (PolitiFact, March 2015)

“Remarkably, the growth of health care costs has slowed down significantly in recent years, enough so that budget analysts are having to reconsider their fiscal outlook of the law. It remains to be seen whether the health care law is the cause of these sweeping changes within the industry, and it may be too early for advocates of the law to claim victory.”

by Annie Z. Yu, ProPublica, March 27, 2015, 3 p.m.

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