Rate of Texans without health insurance falls, still tops US

Laura Christensen
September 14, 2017

The ACA has helped more than 1.1 million Pennsylvanians access health coverage, acting Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman said, while more than 711,000 people have received coverage since 2015 under Wolf's Medicaid expansion program. Only the northeastern USA, and some Midwest states were in lighter shades of blue, reflecting their relatively low uninsured rates.

Georgia's uninsured rate fell to 12.9 percent in 2016 from 13.9 percent the previous year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The rate of Medicare coverage increased from 16.3% to 16.7% in that period. States that expanded Medicaid had an average uninsured rate of 6.5 percent compared with an 11.7 percent average among states that did not expand, the Census Bureau reported.

Medicaid relies on a mix of federal and state funding to insure children and adults with low incomes.

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Anne Dunkelberg, associate director of the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, said in a press release that she was pleased to see more insured Texans under the Affordable Care Act, but that "all Texans will see health benefits and cost savings if Texas follows the lead of the majority of states - including very conservative states - by expanding coverage for these families using federal Medicaid dollars". Medicaid now covers more than 19 percent of the population and Medicare almost 17 percent.

The number of Americans without health insurance dropped by 2.5 million a year ago, on top of an improvement of more than 15 million in 2014 and 2015, after key parts of the health care reform law took effect. However, 68 percent of people with incomes below $25,000 had government coverage compared to only 18.8 percent of those with incomes at or above $125,000. The decrease continues the downward trend Pennsylvania's uninsured rate has been on since 2013, making 2016's 5.6 percent the commonwealth's lowest ever uninsured rate, down from more than 10 percent when the Affordable Care Act was passed.

"Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage at the time of interview decreased in 39 states", the Census report said. But it's still a big improvement from the years before the ACA became law. The percentage of employer-based insurance plans has stayed around the same since 2013 (55.7% of plans).

Like Texas, Florida can partially attribute its higher-than-average uninsured rate to a large immigrant population and a strict Medicaid program. "There was no statistically significant difference between 2015 and 2016 for any other subtype of health insurance". "The uninsured rates for Blacks and Asians were higher than for non-Hispanic Whites, at 10.5 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively", Census said. Hispanics had the highest uninsured rate at 16% in 2016.

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