Well, I wasn't just particularly chomping at the bit to discuss this; I just felt that the other thread had drifted OT and didn't want to contribute that more of the same. But I feel like it would be lame not to post something given that the thread is here now. I did find this:
which cites this Brookings study that I'd also run across earlier in my search:
Both of these take the position that the in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of the ACA private industry health insurance premiums rose faster than pre-existing models predicted otherwise.
This CNN article discusses some of the reasons why merely "enrolling people into something called health insurance" doesn't really constitute success:
The core problem is that most of the increased enrollment comes in through Medicaid, and that many doctors are refusing to take new Medicaid patients. I haven't followed this angle up yet, but it also cites a study stating that many Medicaid patients suffer worse outcomes than private insurance patients. It also cites the Congressional Budget Office as projecting that ten million Americans will be forced off of their insurance programs of choice as a result of the program. That was something I wasn't even aware of earlier today that I'll need to peek into further.
The problem with researching this, like so many politically charged issues (like, say, climate change) is that a lot of the information available is politically motivated. I think for every negative review I could find one could find a positive one, along with analyses on both sides showing why the other side's arguments are garbage. I actually intend to read the Brookings study, but it will take a few days.
Please let me digress momentarily and share my own thoughts as to where we've gone wrong with this. Insurance is a very well-defined thing. The idea behind insurance is that you have a group of people some of whom will suffer an extreme cost of some kind, but you have no way of predicting which ones. Each of them pays premiums that represent the average cost across the whole group of all such events (plus a little extra for insurance company profit). Then the insurance brings forth the money for those that actually suffer the event.
Providing that same protection to people who do not pay in that full premium amount is not insurance - it's welfare. I think we have confounded the phrase "health insurance" by turning it into a welfare mechanism. If there are some people who cannot afford health insurance, we could just give them money (a welfare payment) that they could then use to purchase health insurance on the open market. I see no reason it couldn't just be treated as a straight up welfare issue. The government could help people afford it without actually managing it. This would be my general approach to all welfare, by the way - implement it all in one way, via a negative income tax administered by the IRS. Cash money, usable to fund any need, and get rid of the alphabet soup of agencies we have now.
Well, I'll stop there for now. While the "negative" effect of the ACA that would affect me personally in the most adverse way is the driving up of private insurance costs, I recognize that many who value "more people insured" might just not be very bothered by increased private costs. So I will try to look more deeply into the other thread: the premise that just having people on the insurance rolls doesn't necessarily mean that they are better off. I sense that might be a more compelling argument for those focused on the impact of the program on the poor as opposed to the impact on everyone.