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Survey reveals the effects of Obamacare in Michigan

Mar 23, 2015

Five years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It’s the law widely known as “Obamacare.”

The Affordable Care Act has largely been successful in Michigan, though not all individuals are satisfied.
Credit FLICKR USER SOURTHERNTABITHA / FLICKR

The University of Michigan’s Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation decided to see what Obamacare has meant for Michigan and the results of their survey are out today.

If Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, had to grade the ACA, it would earn “certainly no lower than a B.”

“It has done so much to expand coverage for so many people in our state and really across the country,” she said. “It’s still an incredibly controversial law and there are a lot of states that have not benefited the way Michigan has, which is why I can’t quite get it to that A mark. But it’s certainly doing a really good job in Michigan.”

The survey shows that the ACA has decreased the number of uninsured people in the state of Michigan. In 2012, around 14% of people surveyed reported being uninsured. The survey conducted last fall revealed that that number decreased by half. Only 7% reported being uninsured.

Furthermore, there was a “significant reduction” in the number of people who cited cost as the reason they did not pursue medical care when it was needed. Around a fourth of the people who listed this as an issue in 2012 did not list it as an issue last fall.

However, this law is complicated, Udow-Phillips said. While it has generally been a success – when the entire population is looked at – some individuals are left unhappy.

“They might not be getting coverage that they like as well as what they had before,” Udow-Phillips said. “That’s what this is unfortunately all about. There are averagings that occur under a law like this, so younger people might be paying more, older people are paying less. And overall, people are getting more coverage, but some of them may not have wanted that coverage.”

The ACA provides what Udow-Phillips calls an “expansive set of services,” some of which not all people need or want.

“It is a very complicated law; not everybody is a winner in this law,” she said. “More people seem to be doing better than losing however.”