Health

Uninsured Rate Hits 'Historic Low'

| by Ray Brown

The number of people without some form of medical insurance has never been lower, according to a new report.

"Uninsured rates are at historic lows," Dr. David Blumenthal, president of the Commonwealth Fund, told reporters at a news conference, according to UPI. "It is important to hold onto these gains and continue to make progress in assuring people can get and afford the health care they need."

According to the report, in 2013, the year before the Affordable Care Act's major coverage expansion, 17 percent of Americans under age 65 -- about 45 million people -- lacked health insurance. But by the end of 2015, that rate fell to 11 percent.

Blumenthal and Susan Hayes, the lead author of the report, said that the data proved the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, shows that it has helped increase health insurance coverage and repealing it would not be beneficial.

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"It's the single most important predictor for whether or not people can get access to care. People who are uninsured get about half the care that people who are insured all year get," Hayes said. "The research base is really strong on this issue. If we were to see a rollback in insurance coverage, it is very likely we would go back to the high rates of access problems we saw prior to the Affordable Care Act among people who don't have health insurance.”

Although health insurance coverage has increased, the report found that no gains have been made in dental coverage.

“In the United States, dental care is traditionally covered under a separate policy than medical care,” the report states. “ACA marketplace plans are not required to provide dental coverage for adults, and state Medicaid and CHIP programs can choose whether to extend dental benefits to adults.”

Sources: UPI, Commonwealth Fund / Photo credit: National Cancer Institute via Wikipedia

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