Biden: Obamacare Brings Peace of Mind

The vice president says just having coverage will improve individuals’ mental health.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23: U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden pauses as he addresses the opening plenary session of Families USA's Health Action 2014 conference January 23, 2014 in Washington, DC. The conference brought together health care advocates to focus on 'topics from Medicaid expansion and efforts to promote high-quality care to strategies for improving health care access for minorities.' (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
National Journal
Sophie Novack
Add to Briefcase
Sophie Novack
Jan. 23, 2014, 8:06 a.m.

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.”

What We're Following See More »
THE PLAN ALL ALONG?
Manchin Drops Objections, Clearing Way for Spending Deal
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."

Source:
UNCLEAR WHAT CAUSED CHANGE OF HEART
Giuliani Out of Running For State
1 days ago
BREAKING

Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.

Source:
ALSO VICE-CHAIR OF TRUMP’S TRANSITION TEAM
Trump Taps Rep. McMorris Rodgers for Interior Secretary
1 days ago
BREAKING
SHUTDOWN LOOMING
House Approves Spending Bill
2 days ago
BREAKING

The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.

HEADS TO OBAMA
Senate Approves Defense Bill
2 days ago
THE LATEST

The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login