The Short, Happy Valley of Obamacare

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Back in the past, about 17 percent of Americans went without health insurance. In the future, according to the CBO, about 17 percent of Americans will go without health insurance if AHCA, the Republican health care bill, passes. In between is the short, happy valley of Obamacare, when we got that number down to about 10 percent:

The CDC has precise numbers for the present if you’re interested. The Obamacare smile in the chart above is just approximate. Bottom line: if AHCA passes, not only will all the good work of Obamacare be wiped out, but uninsurance rates will actually be higher than they used to be when we had no legislation at all. I’m not quite sure how Republicans managed to pull that off, but it’s an impressive feat of callousness and greed.

Are you interested in additional detail about exactly which groups will be less insured under AHCA? The answer is: all of them. Here’s the absolutely appalling CBO estimate:

Poor people will have less insurance. Working-class people will have less insurance. Middle-class people will have less insurance. The young will have less insurance. The middle-aged will have less insurance. The old will have less insurance. Everybody will have less insurance. Except for the rich, of course, who will also get an $882 billion tax cut.1

This is what Paul Ryan calls “encouraging.” I’m not sure how he looks at himself in the mirror every morning.

1In fairness, they have to share this tax cut with big corporations.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend