30M Americans Will Still Be Uninsured in 2016 Under ACA, Study Says
Even though the Affordable Care Act is expected to extend health insurance coverage to about 30 million U.S. residents over the next several years, roughly the same number of people still will lack health coverage by 2016 and the majority of them will be U.S. citizens, employed and white, according to a study published in Health Affairs, the Washington Post's "Wonkblog" reports. An estimated 48.6 million U.S. residents currently are uninsured, according to "Wonkblog."
Study co-author Steffie Woolhandler noted that even if the ACA were fully implemented, about 26 million residents still would lack coverage, echoing estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released more than a year ago, "Wonkblog" reports.
The new study estimated that:
- 80% of the uninsured under the ACA will be U.S. citizens;
- 17.6 million of the uninsured will be between ages 18 and 44;
- The majority of uninsured individuals will have incomes between 100% and 199% of the federal poverty level;
- 15.5 million will be employed; and
- 22.9 million will be white.
However, the estimated-30-million-uninsured figure is expected to shrink gradually after 2016, as enrollment in the ACA's insurance exchanges continues to increase, according to budget forecasters (Kliff, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 6/7).
Supreme Court Medicaid Ruling Will Leave Millions Uninsured
In related news, an estimated seven million U.S. residents in about 25 states still will lack health care coverage in 2014 because of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the ACA that allows states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion, National Journal reports.
According to the Journal, President Obama's re-election and HHS' subsequent decision to permit states to fully expand Medicaid -- or not at all -- convinced a few holdout states to make a decision to participate in the expansion. However, most state Republican leaders and lawmakers still are not willing to take the political risk of endorsing the Medicaid expansion, even if it might have a positive effect on their state's economy, the Journal reports.
In an effort to reach the same goals as the Medicaid expansion, some governors -- like Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) -- have developed plans that would use federal funding for the expansion to shift some low-income residents into private plans in the exchanges or into state-run health benefits.
According to the Journal, even if more states decide to participate in the Medicaid expansion, few states will be ready by January 2014 -- when the expansion is scheduled to be implemented -- because of "logistical and administrative hurdles," leaving "many low-income Americans â¦ uninsured" (Sanger-Katz, National Journal, 6/10).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.