Number of Uninsured Jumps for First Time Since 2009

September 10, 2019

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Source: The Hill

The number of people in the U.S. without health insurance jumped by 2 million from 2017 to a total of 27.5 million in 2018, according to census data release Tuesday.

It’s the first time the census survey reported an increase in those without insurance since 2009, before ObamaCare took effect and vastly expanded coverage.

The total uninsured rate increased to 8.5 percent in 2018 from 7.9 percent in 2017.

Census officials said the increase was mostly driven by a drop in the number of people, including children, covered by public programs like Medicaid.

The number of kids without insurance also increased from 2017 to 2018 by 0.6 percent.

Overall, 4.3 million children didn’t have insurance, an increase of 425,000.

Kids living in the South were more likely to be uninsured than those living in other parts of the U.S. Between 2017 and 2018, the uninsured rate for children living in the South increased by 1.2 percentage points to 7.7 percent

Hispanic children were also more likely not to have insurance.

Rachel Garfield, co-director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s program on Medicaid and the uninsured, said a variety of factors could play into the increase in the uninsured rate, including adding more requirements to Medicaid that beneficiaries have to follow in order to maintain coverage.

“There’s a pretty long history showing when states put in more reporting requirements or increase administrative requirements for enrollees, people tend to fall off coverage,” she said.

The new numbers give Democrats an opportunity to hit President Trump on his health care agenda. The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit that would overturn ObamaCare, an issue that helped Democrats win back the House in 208.

His administration has also prioritized policies that would lead to declines in Medicaid enrollment.

“President Trump’s cruel health care sabotage has left two million more people without health insurance, forced to live in constant fear of an accident or injury that could spell financial ruin for their families,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) 

“Instead of working to lower health costs for the American people, President Trump is asking the courts to destroy protections for the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and erase every other benefit and protection of the Affordable Care Act.”

Democrats running for president also seized on the news to accuse Trump of trying to “sabotage” ObamaCare. 

“Mr. Trump lied,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders

“He promised to strengthen health care — instead, he has done everything he can to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. The result: Nearly two million people joined the ranks of the uninsured last year.” 

Trump and Republicans “played politics with health care and now Americans are paying the price,” tweeted Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is also running for president. 

 

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