Is Obamacare Really Universal Healthcare?

The CBO report (pdf) estimates (p. 107) that, as of 2024, that 25 million non-elderly Americans will get health insurance thanks to Obamacare. But about 31 million, or one in nine, non-elderly residents of the US will remain without insurance in 2024. Of these, 30 percent are undocumented immigrants, 20 percent are eligible for Medicaid but will choose not to enroll, 5 percent will be ineligible for Medicaid because their state has chosen not to expand coverage, and 45 percent will choose not to purchase insurance through their employer or on the individual market.

Lanhee Chen thinks a narrow goal of covering more people is misguided and that health care reform should focus instead on lowering costs:

This is where the Republican alternatives have a distinct advantage. Analysts across the political spectrum recognize that the existing (essentially unlimited) tax preference for employer-sponsored health insurance drives up health-care utilization and costs. It also creates a cost disadvantage for anyone seeking to purchase health insurance independent of an employer. By and large, people aren’t buying health insurance today; they’re buying pre-paid health care with relatively few limits on the services they can obtain.

Reform of the existing tax treatment of health insurance is an important step toward reducing costs and avoiding the rationing and service limits that afflict the health-care systems of many other countries. The Affordable Care Act does little to address the tax treatment of health insurance and other dynamics that push up health-care costs.

Meanwhile, Byron York casts doubt on the number of people Obamacare claims to have insured:

This week, the health consulting firm Avalere found that only 1 to 2 million of the 6.3 million who signed up for Medicaid were new enrollees brought into the program by Obamacare. The rest were people who were eligible and would have signed up for Medicaid irrespective of Obamacare, in addition to people who were already on Medicaid but were renewing their status.