16.4M U.S. Residents Gain Coverage Since Passage of ACA, HHS Says
HHS said that marks the largest change in the number of uninsured in 40 years (Pear, New York Times, 3/16).
According to the report, 14.1 million U.S. adults gained coverage since the launch of the ACA's initial open enrollment period in October 2013. That includes 3.4 million adults ages 19 to 25 (Armour, Wall Street Journal, 3/16). In addition, 2.3 million adults ages 19 to 25 gained coverage between 2010 and October 2013 through the law's provision allowing young adults to stay on a parent's coverage until age 26.
Since the first open enrollment period launched, the uninsured rate has declined from 20.3% to 13.2%, which is a 35% reduction (HHS report, 3/16).
In an email, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said, "Because of the [ACA], young adults are able to stay on their parents' plans until age 26, states can expand their Medicaid programs and tax credits are available to millions of Americans in all 50 states, making health care coverage more affordable and accessible" (HHS release, 3/16).
Meanwhile, some ACA opponents criticized the report for relying largely on Gallup poll data.
Edmund Haislmaier, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said the report does not include essential information on how many people who signed up for coverage through the exchanges were previously uninsured.
However, Rachel Garfield, senior researcher at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the report shows net changes that reveal many more people are gaining coverage than losing it. She dismissed concerns about the report using Gallup poll data, saying that such data tends to more up-to-date than numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau or other sources (Wall Street Journal, 3/16).
Burwell To Push Enrollment for Minority Populations
Burwell said that while she was "pleased" with the decline in the uninsured rate, she believes the government can do more to boost enrollment numbers among blacks and Latinos.
Surveys conducted for HHS show that the Latino uninsured rate fell by 12.3 percentage points between the first quarter of 2014 and Q1 2015. However, Latinos continue to have lowest rate of coverage, according to the Washington Post (Bernstein, Washington Post, 3/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.