Rate of Uninsured in U.S. Dropped to All Time-Low Last Yearby
9.1 percent of Americans lacked health insurance in 2015
Uninsured rate dropped for all age categories under 65
The share of Americans without health insurance dropped to an all-time low of 9.1 percent last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, partly because of programs and rules under the 2010 health law that expanded coverage to millions of people.
The number of Americans without coverage fell by 4 million from 2014, following an even larger drop of 9 million the year before. For the second year in a row, the percentage of people without health coverage dropped for all age groups under 65 years old, the Census Bureau said in a report released Tuesday.
Obamacare, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, began offering subsidized health insurance coverage to Americans in 2014. It also gave states the option to expand Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor, to many more people. So far, 31 states and the District of Columbia have expanded the program. Those that have not done so have largely held back because of political opposition to the law.
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The uninsured rate fell in at least 47 states and the District of Columbia, with non-statistically significant changes in three states, the Census said.
“All the states saw a reduction, but the big reductions came from the states that expanded Medicaid,” Ken Thorpe, professor of health policy and management at Emory University, said in a telephone interview. “If the remaining states expanded Medicaid, I believe the rate would decline as low as 6.1 percent, which would have an enormous impact on the economy and the health-care industry.”
Most people in the U.S. are covered by private health insurance that they get through work, according to the Census. Work-based plans cover 55.7 percent of people under 65, followed by Medicaid, which covers 19.6 percent.