The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Noam N. Levey, Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

WASHINGTON — America’s uninsured rate plummeted last year, with the improvement driven by states that have fully implemented the Affordable Care Act, a new nationwide Gallup survey indicates.

Led by Arkansas and Kentucky, which both saw double-digit declines, seven states saw the percentage of adults without insurance fall by more than 5 percentage points between 2013 and 2014.

All but one of the 11 states with the biggest drops implemented both pillars of the federal health law: expanding Medicaid coverage to low-income adults and setting up a fully or partially functioning state-based marketplace.

“While a majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, it has clearly had an impact in reducing the uninsured rate in the U.S., which declined to its lowest point in seven years in 2014,” Gallup’s Dan Witters wrote in a report outlining the new findings.

While some critics of the health law continue to question its impact on coverage, a growing number of independent surveys show the number of Americans without health insurance fell dramatically last year. The rate had been increasing in the years before the new law went into effect.

Gallup’s poll is among the largest surveys on the issue, with more than 175,000 interviews annually. It found that nationwide the rate of uninsured adults declined from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 13.8 percent last year.

The lowest uninsured rates continue to be primarily in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Massachusetts, whose 2006 coverage expansion became the model for the national law, had the lowest rate at 4.6 percent.

The highest uninsured rates are in the South and West. For the seventh consecutive year, Texas has the worst rate in the country, with nearly a quarter of its adults uncovered.

Gallup’s survey also underscored how the health law may be widening the nation’s health care divide.

States that have fully implemented the law saw a 4.8 percentage point improvement in the share of the adult population with insurance between 2013 and 2014. That was nearly twice the rate of decline in states that have not fully implemented the law.

California, which historically had among the highest uninsured rates, recorded one of the fastest declines. The share of adults without coverage in the state fell from 21.6 percent to 15.3 percent.

Even Connecticut and Maryland, which already had among the highest rates of coverage, saw major declines in the rate of uninsured adults. Connecticut’s rate dropped from 12.3 percent to 6 percent; Maryland’s went from 12.9 percent to 7.8 percent.

All three states have enthusiastically embraced the health law.

By contrast, Texas, where opposition to the health law has been fierce, recorded a decline of less than 3 points, from 27 percent to 24.4 percent.

The Gallup survey results were based on interviews nationwide with 178,072 adults in 2013 and 176,702 adults in 2014. The margin of error is plus or minus 1 or 2 percentage points in most states, though it is closer to 4 percentage points in small states.

Photo: SEIU International via Flickr

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Herschel Walker

Former football star Herschel Walker has attracted a large following as a commentator over the last decade, carefully crafting an image as an upstanding Black American with a focus on conservative “family values.” So when news broke last week of Walker having a 10-year-old child whom he did not raise, the Georgia Republican Senate candidate's detractors began hammering on the contradictions between his moralizing speeches and his own life.

Walker has made his stance against fatherless households a key component of his personal political brand. In a 2020 interview, he said the Black community has a “major, major problem” with fatherless homes.

Keep reading... Show less

Rep. Lauren Boebert

YouTube Screenshot

For far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, owning a gun-themed restaurant called Shooters Grill has been a major promotional tool among fellow MAGA Republicans and members of the National Rifle Association (NRA). But according to Daily Beast reporter Roger Sollenberger, Boebert’s promotional tool may be in trouble: Sollenberger reports that Boebert’s restaurant is “facing an uncertain” future now that the new landlord of the property she has been renting has announced that he won’t be renewing her lease.

In an article published by the Beast on June 23, Sollenberger describes the property’s new landlord as a “marijuana retailer.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}