Health insurance coverage among U.S. adults drops by 2 million
Some have interpreted these numbers as a reduction in the Affordable Care Act’s gains.
New Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index figures suggest health insurance coverage rates may have fallen this year. After years of improvements in the uninsured Americans statistics following the Affordable Care Act, those figures have started to erode.
The index stated that the number of uninsured Americans grew by 2 million people in 2017.
The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index was based on a survey of American adults. The survey showed an 11.7 percent uninsured rate throughout the second quarter of 2017. At the end of 2016, the number of Americans without health insurance coverage had hit a record low, at 10.9 percent. If the figures from the new survey are correct, this represents a 0.8 percent change in the other direction.
While 0.7 percent may not be a very large percentage at all, it is statistically significant, say the survey analysts. It indicates that about 2 million fewer American adults have health plans than was the case in 2016’s last quarter.
Still, even with this reduction, health insurance coverage rates are far greater now than before the ACA.
The Affordable Care Act had brought uninsured rates to the lowest levels in American history. Through Obamacare, about 20 million people purchased health plans. Even following the 0.7 percent decrease, the rate of uninsured Americans is still 6.3 percent lower than it was in the third quarter of 2013, before the individual mandate of the ACA was implemented. At that time, 18 percent of American adults were without any health insurance plans.
Following the July 4 break, Congress has returned to debate the GOP bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has been working to secure the necessary votes to pass that bill. However, at the time this article was written, there was no indication that he had reached the numbers he requires. Of the 52 Republican senators, McConnell could lose only 2 votes if the bill is to pass.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, at least 22 million Americans will lose their health insurance coverage should the Republican bill pass.