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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

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

Lawsuit challenging Houston Methodist's COVID vaccine mandate dismissed

Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit brought by 117 Houston Methodist staff over the hospital's policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: This is the first federal court ruling on a coronavirus vaccine mandate. Attorney Jared Woodfill, representing the plaintiffs, told KHOU 11 it's "the first battle in a long fight," as he vowed to file another lawsuit soon.

G7 leaders to announce plan to phase out gasoline cars

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks next to President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, England, on Saturday. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

G7 leaders are set to outline Sunday a range of measures to tackle climate change, including "ending almost all direct government support" for fossil fuels and phasing out gasoline and diesel cars.

Driving the news: The plan was outlined in a British government announcement Saturday, which states that the leaders will also agree to halting "all unabated coal as soon as possible."