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Friday, December 9, 2016

The Affordable Care Act is working just fine — in states that haven’t gone out of their way to sabotage it.

That’s the conclusion of Gallup’s latest health care poll, which was released on Tuesday. The poll finds that the 10 states that have seen the sharpest drops in their uninsured rates since 2013 have all participated in the health care law’s Medicaid expansion, and set up some sort of insurance marketplace.

Gallup Obamacare chart

Furthermore, Gallup notes that although people across the country are increasingly obtaining coverage, the states that have fully participated in Obamacare are experiencing much greater gains than those that haven’t. The uninsured rate has dropped 4 percent in the 21 states that have expanded Medicaid and set up their own state exchanges; in the 29 that have taken one or neither of these steps, it has fallen only 2.2 percent.

Gallup Obamacare chart 2

There’s a clear partisan breakdown to the law’s effectiveness — 9 of the 10 states that have experienced the largest reductions in their uninsured rates are governed by Democrats (with the exception being New Mexico, where Republican Susana Martinez is governor). By contrast, each of the 10 states with the highest percentage of uninsured residents is governed by a Republican.

Making matters worse, as Tara Culp-Ressler points out at ThinkProgress, the states that have not fully participated in Obamacare are the ones that could use the most help, as they “had higher uninsurance rates to begin with, and they’re home to people who tend to be poorer and sicker than the residents in other states.”

Clearly, the states that wanted the Affordable Care Act to work have been more successful in providing their citizens with health insurance. Or, in other words: Elections matter.

AFP Photo/Joe Raedle

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