The number of uninsured Americans declined in 2014 despite a lack of improvement on median income or poverty rates, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Wednesday.
Hispanic people had the highest uninsured rate, at 19.9 percent, compared to 11.8 percent for black people and 7.6 percent for white people.
Similarly, the percentage of the population who were uninsured dropped in 2014 to 10.4%, down from 13.3% in 2013. This might explain why the gender gap in any kind of health insurance coverage reverses itself in the few years before Medicare (which covers essentially all people over age 65) kicks in.
Congressional budget minders say repealing Obamacare’s “individual mandate” would save taxpayers more than $305 billion and increase the number of uninsured Americans by 14 million over the next decade. People purchasing private insurance on their own, through the health law’s insurance exchanges, increased by 3.2 percentage points to 14.6 percent. Nationwide, the uninsured rate fell from about 15 percent to 12 percent. The percent of Americans in poverty without health insurance dropped by 9.3% in states that expanded Medicaid and only by 4.8% among impoverished Americans in states that did not expand Medicaid. But there’s still a sizable chunk of the population that has high rates of uninsurance: older millennials, a.k.a. the “young invincibles”, a nickname that refers to their supposedly hubristic attitude that they don’t need health insurance because they’ll never get sick. The rate of direct purchasers increased by 3.2 percent in 2014.
Slightly more than 5 million Texans were uninsured in 2014 – a 700,000 decrease from the year before.
But in the 20 states that have yet to expand Medicaid, nearly 4 million uninsured people are trapped in the so-called coverage gap and are unable to find coverage without Medicaid expansion. However, the Census Bureau changed its methodology a year ago, raising concerns from conservatives that the change was an effort to obscure the effects of Obamacare.
“What we see is that in the country, millions of people literally have gotten health care, and in New York it’s more than 300,000”, said Zweig, who also directs the university’s Center for Study of Working Class Life.
“Finding affordable health insurance coverage is challenging, especially for low-income consumers who don’t qualify for subsidies or Medicaid”, said Bruce Telkamp, CEO of AgileHealthInsurance.com.