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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

New Census data confirms major drop in uninsured in 2014

by Joan McCarter
Bar chart showing dropped in uninsured rates from 2013 to 2014, using census data
The uninsured population fell dramatically from 13.3 percent in 2013 to 10.4 percent in 2014, new data from the Census Bureau shows.
The coverage gains reflect growth in both Medicaid and private health coverage, and they occurred across population groups. These are the first Census estimates showing the effects of health reform’s major coverage expansions, which took full effect on January 1, 2014. […] The share of Americans enrolled in Medicaid rose from 17.5 percent in 2013 to 19.5 percent in 2014, while the share with private coverage rose from 64.1 percent to 66.0 percent. Thus, 2014 is the first year since 2000 in which both Medicaid and private coverage grew by statistically significant amounts. That's because health reform expanded Medicaid to more low-income adults and it provides subsidies to help people with modest incomes purchase private coverage through the health insurance marketplaces.
That's in states that expanded Medicaid. CBPP also notes that the gap in uninsured rates between states that didn't take Medicaid expansion and those that did grew to 3.6 percentage points in 2014. At the same time, the uninsured rate fell by at least one-eighth in every demographic group the Census data covers—gender, age, family income, working status, and race/ethnicity. Gains for African Americans were particularly notable. The insured rate for that group fell by more than a quarter in 2014, from 15.9 percent to 11.8 percent. The Census data, however, wasn't all good news. Despite these gains, the percentage of people living in poverty remained essentially unchanged, and way too high. That makes 2014 "the fourth consecutive year in which the number of people in poverty was not statistically different from the official estimate for the prior year."

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