WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) — More Americans now have health insurance than ever before, with the uninsured rate declining across all 50 states because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund released Wednesday.
Following full implementation of the ACA’s health coverage provisions in 2014, every state experienced a decline in the percentage of uninsured working-age adults and low-income adults, the report stated.
“Uninsured rates are at historic lows,” Dr. David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund, told reporters at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “It is important to hold onto these gains and continue to make progress in assuring people can get and afford the health care they need.”
States that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, also known as Obamacare, were most likely to see big declines in their uninsured rates. But even states that didn’t expand the program saw large shares of their residents gain health insurance.
Six states — California, Kentucky, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and West Virginia — sliced their uninsured rates by at least half between 2013 and 2015, the researchers found.
Kentucky led the nation with a dramatic decline in uninsured rates for working-age and low-income adults. Only 8 percent of working-age adults and 13 percent of low-income adults did not have health insurance in Kentucky by 2015, compared with 21 percent and 38 percent, respectively, in 2013.
Health insurance also led to better access to health care, according to the report.
People in 38 states were less likely to say costs prevented them from going to a doctor when they needed health care. There also was a decline in 16 states in the percentage of people at risk for poor health outcomes because they skipped a routine doctor’s visit.
The Commonwealth Fund issued its new report as the new Republican-led Congress lays plans to repeal the ACA as one of their first acts in 2017.
Researchers have reported that a straight repeal of the law will result in nearly 20 million people losing insurance by 2018.
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