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Posted by on Jun 24, 2015 in Health, Law | 22 comments

CDC Reports On Decrease In Uninsured Under Affordable Care Act

The CDC reports the percent of uninsured showed the largest drop since they began reporting data on this, consistent with other measures of the decrease in uninsured under the Affordable Care Act such as the Gallup poll.

The share of working-age people without health insurance fell by more than 4 percentage points in 2014, the biggest drop since the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began reporting the data in 1997.

Last year, 16.3 percent of adults under age 65, or about 31.7 million people, lacked medical coverage, according to a CDC survey published Tuesday. That’s down from 20.4 percent a year earlier.

Many people are able to receive coverage due to eliminating the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage based upon pre-existing conditions. Many also are assisted by the subsidies which help them pay for the insurance premiums under Obamacare.

We are now waiting to see how the Supreme Court rules on King v. Burwell. Even if the Supreme Court accepts this fallacious argument that the law only intended to provide subsidies for those purchasing insurance on the state exchanges, and not the federal exchange, I would expect some sort of fix to enable the subsides to continue. The Republican Congress would be under tremendous pressure to cooperate in making a slight revision to the Affordable Care Act to continue the subsidies. If they did not, I bet some way would be found to make versions of the federal exchange available to the states.

Of course we cannot underestimate the possibility of Republicans to deny health care coverage, as we saw with the expanded Medicaid program:

States that expanded Medicaid through Obamacare provisions had lowers rates of uninsured, the CDC said. In states that didn’t expand Medicaid, 19.3 percent of adults under 65 were uninsured, compared with 13.3 percent in states that did.

Most people 65 and over get coverage through Medicare, the U.S. government program to cover the elderly.

Texas and Oklahoma had the highest rate of uninsured at 21.5 percent; neither state expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Hawaii had the lowest rate, with 2.5 percent uninsured last year.

Originally posted at Liberal Values

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  • KP

    I stipulate that a state exchange lowers the numbered of uninsured.

    As well, I am in favor of that.

    The next obvious question, that we appear to disagree on, is at what cost that care is born by patients like myself. My level of care in California has dropped significantly.

    One could argue in a life threatening way. I have already said I will am willing to die younger than I might have absent the ACA.

    What galls me are rabid supporters unwilling to consider and then acknowledge real time experience.

    Not only did my monthly stroke go up 45% this year (2015), my out of pocket family expense is up over 300%.

    I am a Kaiser California insured (the largest insurer in California) and I can no longer get timely care for very serious medical issues.

    Some Medical patients can’t get care at all. Expect it to worsen. It has since the link below was published.

    • I have had extensive conversations with our insurance agent in considering whether to stick with our current plan or switch to an ACA plan (decided to stick with our plan). She said one of the bigger problems with the ACA is lack of provider participation in the bronze level plans. She reported this was much less of an issue with the silver and gold level plans but they also cost more. For those who can’t afford the silver or gold plans this sounds like a real problem.

      It sounds like you are in an unfortunate position due to circumstances KP. Sorry to hear that.

      • “She said one of the bigger problems with the ACA is lack of provider participation in the bronze level plans.”

        That doesn’t make sense. Physicians participate in an entire plan, not bronze versus silver plans. I cannot participate in silver or gold plans and not bronze plans.

    • People under Medicaid always have had difficulty getting coverage and probably always will as long as reimbursement is so low.

      Aren’t I correct in recalling that you are in a group plan and not an exchange plan. If so, the ACA would have nothing to do with the increase in your rates and it is questionable how much this would affect your care.

      • KP

        If the same number of doctors are seeing 3 million new patients in California under the ACA why would you question my access when I am telling you how it has changed in an obvious and dangerous way?

        • Maybe, but only if your Kaiser plan is different from the state wide situation. Kaiser did not pick up as many exchange patients than other plans in California. They are also a pretty well organized plan making them more able to accommodate changes. Most physicians nation wide (except Medicaid clinics) are not seeing a meaningful change in patient load due to the ACA. More patients covered does not mean they are all rushing in to see doctors.

          The bigger problem is that your area was already an area with a physician shortage.

          • KP

            You have a very good memory for details; so you must recall me signing the praises of Kaiser years ago before the exchanges were set up. I held them up as the model.

            Access is now poor even after initial diagnosis.

            @billclinton wrote:

            “I applaud SCOTUS’ decision to uphold ACA”

            KP says I agree with that.

            “Our people, communities & the economy are stronger when health care is affordable and accessible”.

            KP says, True. If only it _were_ affordable and accessible.

            We have a long way to go and we won’t get there under the current administration.

            For now, It is what it is. I am happy for those it is helping, saddened for those it is not and personally feel the sting on a daily basis.

          • The question is whether access is poorer due to the exchanges or other issues, which are probably more significant. Access is probably poorer due to you already being in a physician shortage area along with the increasing number of older physicians retiring. I also wonder how much of an increase in population the area is seeing.

            I’m seeing the same thing from the opposite perspective. Since the exchanges went up I have had the longest waiting lists for new patients that I have ever had. However the exchanges have little if anything to do with it. Exchange patients make up a tiny percent of patients. Most of the increase is due to older doctors retiring the last couple of years leaving more people scrambling to find new doctors.

          • KP

            I wouldn’t dream of questioning your perception of what is happening in your office. But that is a one way street.

          • Regardless of whether the it is due to the ACA, or due to factors such as a physician shortage in your area and physician retirements, it sounds like you are having problems with your current choices from Kaiser. Have you looked outside of Kaiser? If Kaiser isn’t handling the issue well, perhaps you would be better off with a private physician or someone working for another system.

          • KP

            That is a different subject (and feels condescending). Short answer, I am unable to consider a switch at this time.

      • KP


        Maybe that issue should be cleared up before claiming six million new people now have insurance?(!)

        Three million in California alone?(!)

        Logical thinking people predicted this years ago at TMV in discussion with you. The warnings were greeted with thumb the nose at republican talking points.

        The exchange in California // Covered California // is a catastrophe. Anyone who doesn’t know that is misinformed. Misinformed is what it is.

        But if informed and don’t acknowledge the truth they are disingenuous.

        Even worse (my view), if that is due to political ideology.

        Not slotting you.

        • I predicted all along that there would be problems such as this with Medicaid. It is quite variable. Many of the people who got the expanded Medicaid have been able to get doctors. Others have not. I don’t know if anyone has a reliable count as to which fall in each group. I would bet that higher population areas have the most problems.

          I have also posted in the past about the issue of a significant time lag in California for people who qualify but have to wait until their coverage is processed. There is no question that things are not ideal, but they are better than before the ACA.

          Plus, while we hate to rely on ER’s, at least those who got expanded Medicaid will have coverage if they do have a problem which necessitates going there. Not ideal, but better than bankruptcy if they get admitted to the hospital as could happen in the past.

          • KP

            So you slotted yourself.

            I feel free to disagree with you because I was on the receiving end of your overarching “republican talking points” accusations when it came to these very issues toward anyone who didn’t see it the way you hoped it would be.

          • There is a huge difference between the effect of the ACA on the general population and Medicaid.

            The Republican talking points in general have been disproven by experience.

            The Medicaid problems you linked to are real, and I had predicted this while otherwise defending the ACA. Give health care coverage to one group where payments are comparable to other coverage (exchange plans). Give other people Medicaid coverage where payment is significantly less. It is no surprise that, depending upon the area, some of the people getting Medicaid are going to have problems.

            On the other hand, in some cases they were going to free clinics, so the clinics are very happy to take them as Medicaid payment is still much better than zero.

            On a related topic in your state, I have not seen anything recently about the problem I wrote about in which people qualifying for Medicaid were having long waits before their coverage was processed. Have you seen anything on this–I wonder if that problem still exists or if over time they took care of it.

          • KP

            It is a monumental task. I have no doubt that Covered California is working their butts off to make it work; however the growing pains are real.

            I agree, it is tough to get real time data (within 6-12 months) that is reliable.

            That is why I hope that some readers understand that I am deeply involved, real time.

            Not only am I a patient at Kaiser SoCal (the largest insurer in California) on a number of levels but I (dr p) also have private pay patients and clients who are physicians at Kaiser. I have significant insight from my colleagues.

          • The articles I can find on the Medicaid backlog in California go back to January and February, but I don’t know if that means the problem has been fixed, or if it is old news and people stopped writing about it.

          • KP

            My sources and gut tell me that would be overly optimistic. I have significant doubts it will ever be worked out.

            My view: those who had no or least care will get additional care. Those who had their care sorted out, like myself, will suffer decreased care.

            Then there is the upper tier: the politicians that wrote this law and the uber wealthy who can afford concierge attendants.

            You have to ask yourself, why won’t D and R state assembly members in Sacramento bow to calls for them to live under the ACA programs.

            It’s a rhetorical question as we all know their care would suffer.

          • I’m referring specifically to the issue of people qualifying for the expanded Medicaid in California but not receiving coverage for months because of the state not being able to handle processing all of them.

            That problem could have been taken care of over time, especially as there were court cases regarding this which might have forced the to fix this. (Whether they can find doctors who accept their Medicaid after receiving it is a different issue, which will vary with areas).

          • KP

            Solid Qs I don’t have the answers to.

            From another perspective, agents, here is a mix of good and bad news from seven months ago ==>


          • KP


            Your post was not about that.

            But please, write a post about it. I may have some significant input that is real time.

          • No, this post is not about that but a previous one was. I asked you about this situation as you live in California and I was wondering if you have heard anything about this recently. As I mentioned, I am not seeing anything written about this recently, but I wondered if you had recalled seeing anything about it in California newspapers.

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