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Expand chart
Data: KFF; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Most uninsured Americans are already eligible for Medicaid or subsidized Affordable Care Act coverage.

Why it matters: One path to universal health coverage would involve signing millions of Americans up for insurance that's already available to them, and some states are pursuing that goal.

By the numbers: After Congress temporarily expanded eligibility for ACA subsidies earlier this year, 63% of uninsured Americans are now eligible for free or subsidized plans, per a KFF analysis.

  • A quarter are eligible for Medicaid or other public plans, and 38% are eligible for ACA tax credits.
  • But there's wide variation by state, with far fewer people eligible for coverage in states that haven't expanded Medicaid.

Driving the news: Maryland, Colorado and Virginia have passed "easy enrollment" laws, which let residents opt into sharing their tax information with their state's exchange. The exchange can then determine whether they're eligible for free or low-cost coverage.

  • “The core intuition is that tax filing is really the best possible moment to find the eligible uninsured and enroll them into coverage," said Stan Dorn, director of the National Center for Coverage Innovation at Families USA.

Between the lines: "Easy enrollment" moves a step closer to some advocates' ultimate goal — automatically enrolling people who are eligible for free coverage.

  • “If you had automatic enrollment for everybody who has free coverage offered to them, then you could cover half of the uninsured," Dorn said, citing a recent KFF analysis.

What we're watching: "Even without auto-enrollment, I think timing open enrollment to tax season could go a very long way toward reducing the number of uninsured," said KFF's Cynthia Cox.

  • "H&R Block and Turbo Tax systems could be easily programmed to alert uninsured tax filers that they are likely eligible for free or reduced-cost health plans and show them where to go to sign up," she added.

Go deeper

Updated 22 mins ago - World

North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2018. Photo: Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool/Getty Images

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resume previously suspended communication channels between the two countries.

Why it matters: The resumption of the hotline on Tuesday comes despite stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang on the denuclearization of North Korea, which broke down after a second summit between then-President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal in 2019.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

Teen swimmer Lydia Jacoby wins 1st U.S. women's Olympic gold in Tokyo

Lydia Jacoby of Team USA wins gold in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games, completing the race with a time of 1:04.95.

Of note: The Alaskan beat defending Olympic champion and fellow American Lilly King, who won bronze. Tatjana Shoenmaker from South Africa took home the silver medal.

4 hours ago - Health

Scoop: Pelosi’s new COVID plans

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi enters the Rose Garden on Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.