Obamacare is working

So far, it’s meeting the expectations of the White House

As of Monday, which was the deadline for signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, some 7.1 million Americans had opted to do so, meeting the goal set by the Obama administration—despite the massive obstructionism created by Republicans and the initial meltdown of the federal healthcare.gov website.

Millions more have been found eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and some 3 million young adults have been able to remain on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26.

Americans are beginning to realize that Obamacare is working. Millions of formerly uninsured people now have the peace of mind of knowing that health care is available and affordable. Those with pre-existing medical conditions now can obtain insurance. Women are charged no more than men. Seniors don’t have to worry about the “donut hole” in Medicare’s prescription-drug coverage.

More good news: Costs are coming down. In a recent report, the Congressional Budget Office noted that the ACA is fostering fiscal responsibility; were it repealed today, federal deficits would increase by $1.7 trillion over the next 20 years, the CBO estimates.

And Obamacare is saving money in other ways. Hospital administrators across the country know how insistent the law is when it comes to reducing the number of Medicare readmissions. Each one costs $12,000 on average, and since January 2012 there have been 130,000 fewer readmissions. Do the math.

Transforming the American medical system is a huge undertaking. Obamacare isn’t perfect, and it will need tweaking as it goes along. But it’s on its way to becoming one of the foundational programs—like Social Security and Medicare—that make America better for everyone, including those who continue to obtain their health insurance through their employer.