Sep 10, 2019

Rate of uninsured people increases for first time since ACA rolled out

Patients visits a free medical clinic. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Roughly 27.5 million people, or 8.5% of the U.S. population, had no health insurance at some point in 2018, according to new figures from the Census Bureau.

Why it matters: Last year's uninsured rate increased from 7.9% in 2017 — the first time the uninsured rate has gone up since the Affordable Care Act has been in effect.

Between the lines: The uninsured population does not include the "underinsured," or people who have medical coverage but face prohibitively high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.

  • The figure also does not include people who have short-term plans, association plans and religious-based sharing ministries — policies the Trump administration has promoted, but that have holes in coverage that could leave people on the hook for high costs.

The intrigue: The type of coverage that witnessed the largest decline in 2018 was Medicaid, which fell 0.7 percentage points.

  • 4 states where the uninsured rate had a statistically significant increase were Alabama, Idaho, Tennessee and Texas, all of which have not fully expanded Medicaid under the ACA.

The bottom line: The uninsured rate is still markedly lower before the ACA became law, but it's an odd paradox to see more people lose health coverage even though the economy created more jobs.

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Fear over Trump's immigration crackdown may be linked to rise in uninsured

Immigrants, mostly women and children receiving food, shelter and medical help at a shelter in McAllen, Texas. Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc./Getty Images

New data suggests that fear over the Trump administration's crackdown on unauthorized immigration may be a factor in last week's Census Bureau report showing the first increase in the number of people without health insurance in nearly a decade, according to AP.

Why it matters: The White House blamed the Affordable Care Act's high premiums for the rise in the uninsured, but only Hispanics and foreign-born people experienced a significant increase in their uninsured rate.

Go deeperArrowSep 15, 2019

Democrats and the "public option" options

Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Medicare for All debate is often defined as a single-payer system versus a public option that preserves a role for private insurance — but there are big differences among the public option plans that the 2020 Democrats have proposed.

Why it matters: These differences impact enrollees' pocketbooks, the burden on taxpayers and the amount of disruption a public option would have on the existing system.

Go deeperArrowSep 20, 2019

Trump admin wants to require immigrants to get health insurance

Security forces patrol the US-Mexico border on September 18, 2019. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration on Friday issued a proclamation requiring immigrant-visa applicants to prove they can obtain health insurance within 30 days of entering the U.S. or cover their own health care expenses.

The big picture: A recent increase in the number of people without health insurance has coincided with the Trump administration discouraging immigrants from applying for and using government health care programs, like Medicaid.

Go deeperArrowOct 5, 2019