Recent performance metrics for the Affordable Care Act have been looking good, and the announcement Tuesday by Ohio Senior U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown that $65 million stayed in the collective pockets of 78,000 Ohio seniors and persons with disabilities, instead of in the deposit accounts of pharmaceutical giants, is more commonsense proof that Obamacare is working as designed.
The average discount per beneficiary of $842 or $70 a month represents a significant savings from the higher cost of drugs before Obamacare became the law of the land. The news is good for Ohio, and should be for the other 49 states as the ACA reshapes costs and services. And while $65 million is a lot cash to save in just seven months—at the same rate, a full year’s savings is about $111 million—a more impressive number is the $581 million Ohio this same population has saved—or as accountants call it, “cost avoidance”—on prescription drugs overall since the ACA was first implemented.
“The health law continues to help millions of Ohioans live healthier lives with affordable care,” Brown said Tuesday in prepared remarks. “Just in the first half of 2014, nearly 78,000 Ohio seniors and people with disabilities saved an average of $842 on prescription drugs. Uninsured Ohioans should utilize the resources available to them so that they, too, can get covered and benefit from the health law.”
Working as designed, the ACA now protects millions of Ohioans by closing the so-called “donut hole” in drug prices for seniors, ending lifetime caps on insurance coverage, covering both children and adults with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday, offering free preventive care in new private insurance plans, and providing tax credits to small businesses to help them afford health coverage for their employees.
Unlike Ohio’s junior U.S. Senator Rob Portman, who was elected to the Senate in 2010 and who believes “Obamacare must be repealed and replaced with reforms that will actually lower costs and improve the quality of our health care,” Sen. Brown is the political polar opposite. Sen. Portman advertises himself as a “Commonsense Conservative,” which may explain why he would never do what his senior colleague did, decline Congressional health insurance for nearly two decades to keep a 1992 campaign promise to decline a health plan until similar coverage is available to all Americans.
And now that the ACA is here to stay, the senator’s office said he entered the marketplace during the 2014 enrollment period that started October 1, 2013 and ended March 31, 2014. Even though the program flopped at first, it got up and ran well enough that by the enrollment period deadline, totaled over 8 million enrollees, exceeding estimates by a wide margin.
Add to this number over 4.8 million more people who have been covered by states through Medicaid and CHIP programs, around 3 million more Americans under 26 who are covered under their parents’ plans, and about 5 million more people who purchased coverage outside of ACA marketplaces, and it’s no surprise that Sen. Portman, U.S. House Speaker and Ohio Congressman John Boehner, and probably Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, don’t look forward to the second open enrollment period just 65 days away, the second enrollment period for ACA-Obamacare arrives on Oct. 1.
The nation will move another year forward with the kind of affordable and quality health-system advancements any commonsense conservative should embrace.
For Ohioans interested in enrolling, local, certified [healthcare] navigators, application specialists and counselors can be found here or by calling 1-800-318-2596.