Nevada saw a reduction in its rate of uninsured residents last year following the implementation of a controversial health law.
The rate of uninsured Nevadans fell from 20 percent in 2013 to 15.7 percent last year, according research and polling firm Gallup.
Gallup credited the expansion of Medicaid coverage and creation of a state health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act— also known as Obamacare — for a nationwide reduction in uninsured. The national rate fell 3.5 percentage points from 17.3 percent to 13.8 percent, the lowest rate in seven years. States that implemented Medicaid expansion and health insurance exchanges saw the largest reductions in the rate of uninsured, Gallup added.
“While a majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, it has clearly had an impact in reducing the uninsured rate in the U.S.,” Gallup said.
A Gallup poll conducted last May found that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the ACA while 43 percent approve. The U.S. Supreme Court is also set to soon hear arguments from another legal challenge to the law, this time involving subsidies.
The improvement in Nevada occurred despite a problematic rollout of its state-run health insurance exchange. Technical difficulties with the site caused Nevada to give the boot to contractor Xerox, opting for a hybrid program known as a “supported state-based marketplace” that uses the Healthcare.gov federal platform.
“I don’t think anybody ever said that (using federal enrollment) is a final solution,” Bruce Gilbert, Silver State Health Insurance Exchange executive director, told the Reno Gazette-Journal last year. “Given what we experienced last year, the idea was to do something that works right now and then review and potentially revise it in the future.”
The second open enrollment in the program closed on Feb. 15, with 72,127 Nevadans selecting or automatically re-enrolling through the health insurance exchange, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Nationwide, 11.4 million Americans signed up through health insurance exchanges.
Even with its improvement, Nevada remains among a group of states with the second-highest rates of uninsured, Gallup found. Massachusetts continued to have the lowest uninsured rate for seven straight years at 4.6 percent, followed by Connecticut and Hawaii. Texas posted the highest rate at 24.4 percent, followed by Georgia and Mississippi. Kansas was the only state to see its rate of uninsured rise, jumping from 12.5 percent to 14.4 percent.