Quietly succeeding

Controversy and polarization over the seemingly never-ending war in Afghanistan and our government's role in various cyber spying scandals have been tepid compared to the invective-filled outrage surrounding the U.S. Affordable Care Act. But even as insults and accusations over Obamacare's horrid rollout continue to swirl across most of the country, here in Connecticut the program, for the most part, appears to be quietly heading in the right direction.

Though it is still too soon to say definitively whether the overall federal effort designed to make affordable health insurance available to more Americans will ultimately achieve sustainable success, the Nutmeg State's health care exchange, Access Health CT, has been functioning efficiently.

Unlike the infamously flawed federal website - in recent weeks improved but still far from perfect - Connecticut's online program has provided ready access to information, enabling to date more than 20,000 state residents to sign up for health insurance.

This number, though, is a small fraction of the 344,000 people Access Health CT says remain uninsured. Residents have until Dec. 31 to sign up for policies that would become effective in the new year.

In short, the program requires greater enrollment by young, healthy adults to help make it work by offering income-based subsidies.

Unfortunately, most of those who have enrolled in Connecticut haven't followed this model. Access Health CT reports that as of last week 40 percent are between the ages of 55 and 64; 22 percent are between 45 and 54; 11 percent are between 35 and 44; 11 percent are between 26 and 34; 8 percent are between 18 and 25; and 7 percent are younger than 18.

Hoping to reverse this trend, Access Health CT has in recent weeks boosted its advertising and tailored commercials to younger consumers.

Given the toxic, politically charged climate, Connecticut's program continues to draw fire from misguided critics intent on a Congressional decision after next year's midterm elections to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

This newspaper has long advocated making health care a fundamental right for all Americans regardless of their ability to pay, or the presence of pre-existing conditions that allowed insurance companies to deny coverage.

The ACA may be far from perfect but opponents who want to kill it off must not prevail. Too much is at stake.

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