Uninsured Rate Is At Its Lowest In U.S. History

| by Robert Fowler
President Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama

New data released by the National Center for Health Statistics has shown that the rate of uninsured Americans has dropped it a new historical low, marking a new milestone for the controversial Obamacare program.

On Sept. 7, the NCHS published new survey data indicating that from January to March, the rate of uninsured Americans was 8.6 percent. That is a steep drop from three years ago, when the rate was 14.4 percent in 2013, according to The Hill.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell credited the drop to the Affordable Care Act -- better known as Obamacare. The coverage provisions of Obamacare went into full effect in 2013.

“The law is part of the fabric of our country, and while its success is undeniable, we continue to work to strengthen the Marketplace, reach more families through Medicaid, and reform health care delivery to better meet the needs of consumers,” Burwell said.

“Our country’s march toward improving access, quality, and affordability in health care goes on, and today’s numbers show that the Affordable Care Act is continuing to drive historic progress,” Burwell concluded.

The new numbers offer some positive news for Obamacare, which has been hemorrhaging major insurers who have complained that many new enrollees have chronic illnesses and are costing them profits. This has resulted in rising costs and fewer options for applicants, The Washington Times reports.

Republican lawmakers have predicted that the reduced competition will result in rising premium costs. The HHS has responded by attempting to incentivize healthy and young Americans to sign up instead of just paying a tax penalty.

The NCHS data shows that 15.9 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 to 34 still do not have health insurance, compared to the 8.1 percent aged between 45 to 64, according to Vox.

Since 2013, the number of Americans below the poverty line without health insurance has dropped by 18 percent. The drop remained stagnant between 2015 and 2016.

Breaking down the data by demographics, Hispanics have seen the largest reduction in uninsured rates. Since 2010, the rate of uninsured Hispanic Americans has been reduced by 24.5 percent. African-Americans have dropped by 13 percent, while whites have dropped by 8.4 percent.

Health law expert Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation took to social media to comment on the new NCHS findings.

“Glass half empty: The ACA marketplaces face challenges,” Levitt tweeted. “Glass half full: Uninsured rate at the lowest point ever.”

Sources: The Hill, Vox, The Washington Times / Photo credit: Ash Carter/Flickr

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