For Vice President Joe Biden, the Affordable Care Act is about more than physical care when something happens — it’s about the security of being covered in case something does.
“A big chunk of why I so strongly believe [health care] is a right and we’ve covered it now, is peace of mind,” he said at a Families USA health conference Thursday. “This is Biden — I’m a lawyer, not a doctor — but I bet we’ll find that stress plays an incredibly big role in health care.”
In fact, we already have. Chronic stress has been linked to poor health. And a study this year found that Medicaid coverage increased use of health services, decreased rates of depression, and lowered financial strain.
Biden emphasized the importance of insurance to those with preexisting conditions who previously could not get coverage, and families who relied on the emergency room for care. Medical bills are the single greatest cause of bankruptcy, he said.
“To be able to say it with certainty — it’s going to be OK — so many parents, so many families til now have not been able to turn and say it’s going to be OK,” Biden said. “Don’t underestimate the peace of mind piece of this.”
For now though, the enrollment numbers and the law’s impact remain a bit murky.
A Gallup poll released Thursday shows that the rate of uninsured has dropped in the last month, from 17.3 percent in December to 16.1 percent so far in January. This is a positive sign, but it’s too early to tell the degree to which it can be attributed to the health law, and the extent to which the decline will be sustained.
About 2.2 million have enrolled in private insurance on the exchanges as of the end of December. New figures out Wednesday show that 6.3 million people have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or CHIP by the states since Obamacare open enrollment began in October, though that figure also includes individuals who are renewing coverage or were previously eligible but not enrolled.
Being insured doesn’t guarantee that patients will actually go to the doctor, but just having this coverage would significantly improve the lives of many, Biden said.
The vice president emphasized that the law is here to stay, despite continued opposition. “I’m confident [Republicans] are not going to get the message I’m about to deliver to them: We will not go back. America has turned the page. We will not go back to the days before the Affordable Care Act.”
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The Las Vegas Review-Journal, owned by casino magnate and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, became the first major city newspaper to endorse Donald Trump over the weekend.“Mr. Trump represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave,” the editorial read, acknowledging concerns about Trump’s temperament. “But neither candidate will ever be called to the dais to accept an award for moral probity and character,” the paper said. “And we are already distressingly familiar with the Clinton way, which involves turning public service into an orgy of influence peddling and entitlement designed to line their own pockets — precisely what a disgruntled electorate now rises up to protest.”
Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent, in a new ABC News tracking poll, "her highest support and his lowest to date in ABC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls. Gary Johnson has 5 percent support, Jill Stein 2 percent. Clinton led by only four points in the last ABC/Post poll on Oct. 13.
President Obama "will make a late splash into races for state senate and assembly over the next week, endorsing roughly 150 candidates across 20 states. He’ll also back a candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court. The endorsements — which will come along with a variety of robocalls, social media posts, mailers, photos of Obama with the candidates taken as he’s been traveling to campaign in recent weeks, and even a few radio ads — are Obama’s biggest investment in state races ever by far."
If you need a marker for how confident Hillary Clinton is at this point of the race, here's one: CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports "she's been talking to Republican senators, old allies and new, saying that she is willing to work with them and govern."
"According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, the first national post-debate survey, 43 percent of registered voters said the Democratic candidate won, compared with 26 percent who opted for the Republican Party’s standard bearer. Her 6-point lead over Trump among likely voters is unchanged from our previous survey: Clinton still leads Trump 42 percent to 36 percent in the race for the White House, with Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson taking 9 percent of the vote."