The Latest Numbers Are In
According to the latest official figures, about 9 MILLION Americans have received health coverage through various provisions of the Affordable Care Act, including:
- 2.2 MILLION who purchased private health plans through the federal and state marketplaces between October 1 and December 31
- 3.9 MILLION Americans who were found to be eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- 3 MILLION or so young people who have been able to stay on their parents’ health plans until their 26th birthdays
Other Americans have also purchased plans directly from insurers, but the government doesn’t yet have data on those individuals. It’s also worth remembering that another 4.8 MILLION low-income Americans who could have received Medicaid coverage won’t receive any coverage at all because Republican governors and state legislators are refusing to expand Medicaid.
The other important information we received yesterday was the breakdown of those buying private insurance by age. In order for the system to work properly, the influx of older and sicker people who are now flocking to the system after finding it difficult or impossible to find or afford coverage before need to be balanced out by younger, healthier people.
Right now about 24 percent of the new pool of enrollees is part of the latter group, which is right about where experts believe it has to be in order to avoid sizable premium increases as a result of an unbalanced pool. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation called the figures “encouraging” and the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein declared the end of fears that a so-called “death spiral” would occur in the new marketplaces:
The risk of a “death spiral” is over. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that if the market’s age distribution freezes at its current level — an extremely unlikely scenario — “overall costs in individual market plans would be about 2.4% higher than premium revenues.” So, in theory, premiums costs might rise by a few percentage points. That’s a problem, but it’s nothing even in the neighborhood of a death spiral.
Here are a few reasons to be encouraged by how enrollment is proceeding:
- The pace of enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces is looking very similar to what happened during Massachusetts’ successful rollout in 2007.
- The problems with HealthCare.gov prevented or deterred many people from enrolling during October and November, but now that the website is working enrollment is surging, particularly among young people.
- Campaigns to drive enrollment among young people and others had to be put on hold when HealthCare.gov was not working, but now those efforts are getting underway in earnest.
- By their very nature, young people are procrastinators and are more likely to wait until closer to the March 31 deadline to enroll.
It’s also worth noting that the Affordable Care Act includes built-in mechanisms to stabilize premiums over the first few years if the mix of new enrollees isn’t exactly what insurers anticipate it will be. Naturally, Republicans in Congress are specifically trying to repeal those provisions, which could conveniently result in premium increases that would be announced just before this year’s elections.
For their part, Republicans are once again declaring the law a failure because of the number of young people who have signed up so far. As Kevin Drum of Mother Jones wrote today, the law is doing just fine and it’s probably best just to start ignoring their neverending series of false and misleading attacks:
Republicans are trying to make hay with this, but that’s just Republicans being Republicans. You can safely ignore them. There’s really nothing much to worry about here.
BOTTOM LINE: The Affordable Care Act is here, here to stay and it’s working. While much work remains to be done over the next few months (and years) to fully implement the law, its partisan critics are wrong — as the millions of Americans who now have quality, affordable health coverage thanks to the law can attest.
The Senate will convene at 10:00am.
We expect Senator Reid to move to proceed to S.1846, Flood Insurance, during Leader remarks. Following Leader remarks, the time until 12:00 noon will be equally divided and controlled between the two Leaders or their designees, with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each. At 12:00 noon, the Senate will proceed to the consideration of H.J.Res.106, the short term continuing resolution. There will be up to 15 minutes for debate equally divided prior to a roll call vote on passage of the joint resolution.
We also expect to begin consideration of the Omnibus Appropriations a bill once it is received from the House.
This morning Senator Reid moved to proceed to S.1846, Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013.
After Leader remarks, Senator Toomey attempted to offer the Coburn amendment #2606 (prohibit unemployment compensation for those whose adjusted gross income is greater than $1 million in the preceding year) to S.1845, the Emergency Unemployment Benefits Act. The Chair ruled that offering an amendment to S.1845 was not in order because the motion to proceed to S.1846 was the pending business.
Senator Toomey then moved to appeal the ruling of the Chair that the amendment is not in order. The motion to appeal is a debatable motion. No vote is scheduled at this time.
Under the previous order, at 12:00 noon, the Senate will turn to the consideration of H.J.Res.106, making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014 (CR). At approximately 12:15pm, the Senate will proceed to a roll call vote on passage of H.J.Res.106.
At 12:17pm, the Senate began a 15 minute roll call vote on passage of H.J.Res.106, making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014 (3-day CR);
The Senate stands in recess subject to the call of the Chair. We expect to receive a message from the House to accompany H.R.3547, the Omnibus Appropriations bill, this evening and begin its consideration.
This evening, Senator Reid filed cloture on the motion to concur in the House message to accompany H.R.3547 and filled the amendment tree.
The filing deadline for first degree amendments to the message to accompany H.R.3547 is 1:00pm on Thursday. Under the rule, the cloture vote would occur Friday morning. Senator Reid announced his hope to have the vote sooner.
Roll Call Votes
1) Passage of H.J.Res.106, making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes (3-day continuing resolution); Passed: 86-14
Began the Rule 14 process of S.1931, the Responsible Unemployment Compensation Extension Act. (Heller)
Completed the Rule 14 process of:
– S.1917, Victims Protection Act of 2014. (McCaskill)
– S.1926, Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. (Menendez)
No Executive items
Last Floor Action:
7:50:08 P.M. – The House adjourned. The next meeting is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on January 15, 2014.
|10:00:07 A.M.||The House convened, starting a new legislative day.|
|10:00:22 A.M.||The Speaker designated the Honorable Blake Farenthold to act as Speaker pro tempore for today.|
|10:00:44 A.M.||MORNING-HOUR DEBATE – The House proceeded with Morning-Hour Debate. At the conclusion of Morning-Hour, the House will recess until 12:00 p.m. for the start of legislative business.|
|11:26:00 A.M.||The House received a message from the Clerk. Pursuant to the permission granted in Clause 2(h) of Rule II of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Clerk notified the House that she had received a message from the Secretary of the Senate on January 15, 2014 at 9:47 a.m. stating that that body had passed H.R. 3527 and S. 1434.|
|11:26:44 A.M.||The Speaker announced that the House do now recess. The next meeting is scheduled for 12:00 P.M. today.|
|12:00:22 P.M.||The House convened, returning from a recess continuing the legislative day of January 15.|
|12:00:31 P.M.||Today’s prayer was offered by Reverend Gary Grogan, Stone Creek Church, Urbana, Illinois|
|12:02:18 P.M.||POSTPONED PROCEEDINGS ON APPROVAL OF JOURNAL – The Speaker announced that he had examined the Journal of the last day’s proceedings and had approved it. Mr. Wilson (SC) demanded that the question be put on agreeing to the Speaker’s approval of the Journal and by voice vote, the Speaker announced that the ayes had prevailed. Mr. Wilson (SC) objected to the voice vote based upon the absence of a quorum and the Speaker postponed further proceedings on the question of agreeing to the Speaker’s approval of the Journal until a time to be announced.|
|12:02:56 P.M.||PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – The Chair designated Mr. Mullin to lead the Members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.|
|12:04:57 P.M.||ONE MINUTE SPEECHES – The House proceeded with one minute speeches which by direction of the Chair, would be limited to 15 per side of the aisle.|
|12:41:39 P.M.||H. Res. 458||Considered as privileged matter. H. Res. 458 — “Providing for consideration of the Senate amendments to the bill (H.R. 3547) to extend the application of certain space launch liability provisions through 2014; providing for proceedings during the period from January 17, 2014, through January 24, 2014; and for other purposes.”|
|12:44:52 P.M.||H. Res. 458||DEBATE – The House proceeded with one hour of debate on H. Res. 458.|
|1:31:42 P.M.||The House received a message from the Senate. The Senate passed H.J. Res. 106.|
|1:31:43 P.M.||H. Res. 458||DEBATE – The House resumed with debate on H. Res. 458.|
|1:55:22 P.M.||H. Res. 458||An amendment, offered by Mr. Cole, to add a Section at the end of H. Res. 458 which makes a modification to Rules Committee Print 113-32.|
|1:55:23 P.M.||H. Res. 458||The Chair announced that the question was on ordering the previous on the amendment and the resolution.|
|2:21:34 P.M.||H. Res. 458||On ordering the previous question on the amendment Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 228 – 195 (Roll no. 19).|
|2:21:37 P.M.||H. Res. 458||On agreeing to the Cole amendment; Agreed to by voice vote.|
|2:30:50 P.M.||H. Res. 458||On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to by recorded vote: 230 – 191 (Roll no. 20).|
|2:30:50 P.M.||H. Res. 458||Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.|
|2:34:27 P.M.||H.R. 3547||Mr. Rogers (KY) moved that the House agree with an amendment to the Senate amendments.|
|2:35:03 P.M.||H.R. 3547||DEBATE – Pursuant to H. Res. 458, the House proceeded with one hour of debate on agreeing in the Senate amendment to the title of H.R. 3547 and agreeing in the Senate amendment to the text of H.R. 3547 with an amendment inserting the text of Rules Committee Print 113-32, as modified by section 6 of H. Res. 458, in lieu of the matter proposed to be inserted by the Senate.|
|3:51:25 P.M.||H.R. 3547||The previous question was ordered pursuant to the rule.|
|4:20:03 P.M.||H.R. 3547||On motion to concur in the Senate amendments with an amendment Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 359 – 67 (Roll no. 21).|
|4:20:04 P.M.||H.R. 3547||Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.|
|4:20:05 P.M.||UNFINISHED BUSINESS – The Chair announced that the unfinished business was the question on adoption of the Speaker’s approval of the Journal which further proceedings had been postponed.|
|4:20:33 P.M.||The Speaker announced approval of the Journal. Pursuant to clause 1, rule I, the Journal stands approved.|
|4:20:54 P.M.||Mr. Roskam asked unanimous consent that when the House adjourns today, it adjourn to meet at 10:00 a.m. on January 16. Agreed to without objection.|
|4:25:17 P.M.||ONE MINUTE SPEECHES – The House proceeded with further one minute speeches.|
|4:40:15 P.M.||SPECIAL ORDER SPEECHES – The House has concluded all anticipated legislative business and has proceeded to Special Order speeches.|
|7:30:19 P.M.||Mr. Gohmert moved that the House do now adjourn.|
|7:30:31 P.M.||On motion to adjourn Agreed to by voice vote.|
|7:30:32 P.M.||The House adjourned pursuant to a previous special order. The next meeting is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on January 16, 2014.|