91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Failure to repeal Affordable Care Act good news for Michigan

A million people in Michigan gained insurance under ACA.

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, remains the law of the land for now.

That's after Republicans in the House failed to pass a repeal and replace bill that the Congressional Budget Office estimated would leave 14 million Americans uninsured by next year, and 24 million by 2026.

Health care analyst and consultant Allan Baumgarten says the Affordable Care Act has largely been a success in Michigan.

600,000 people gained insurance from the Medicaid expansion.

"But even the individual market is functioning pretty well in Michigan," says Baumgarten.

The individual health exchange is where people can shop for insurance if they don't qualify for Medicaid.  400,000 people obtained insurance in Michigan through the exchange.  The majority receive federal subsidies to help pay for the insurance.

"The fact is, it's not in a death spiral." Health care consultant Allan Baumgarten on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare

Baumgarten says the premium increases for insurance plans on the exchange were pretty steep in 2016, but the four -year average was "reasonably modest."

Baumgarten says there is still plenty of damage Republicans could do to Obamacare, like refuse to tell people when it's time to enroll, as the Trump administration did earlier this year.

"And then they can come along and say, 'See, we told you so, it was in a death spiral.' But the fact is, it's not in a death spiral."

There are some states, though, where the individual health exchange is collapsing, such as Minnesota, often for lack of interest among health plan providers to participate.

Baumgarten says states that are experiencing problems with the law have been reaching out to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service for guidance -- and receiving none.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.