Americans Cling to Health Insurance
WASHINGTON - May 22, 2018
The Americans retained their health insurance last year despite President Donald Trump's intense efforts to dismantle the medical plan created during the Barack Obama administration. That is the contradictory conclusion of a vast government poll released on Tuesday.
After almost a year of the Trump administration, the rate of people without insurance was 9.1% in 2017, almost the same as toward the end of the Obama administration, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC). That amounts to just over 29 million without health insurance.
In general, the rate of people without health insurance has fallen by 16% when the law known as Obamacare was signed in 2010, representing some 19 million people obtaining coverage.
"Despite all the noise and tricks of the Republicans with their repeated attempts to nullify the law, the number of the uninsured has remained unchanged," said health economist Gail Wilensky, a veteran Republican adviser "That's good news for the country, and it might turn out to be good news for Republicans when it comes time for the midterm elections."
But the poll also showed that uninsured figures rose for some groups, raising questions about potential problems this year and beyond. That does not reflect the annulment in Congress of the unpopular requirement that individuals have health insurance, since that does not take effect until next year.
The CDC report considered to be well documented by the experts, contradicts affirmations by both parties. On the Republican side, Trump and others warn that Obamacare will "collapse" (instead, inscriptions remain constant). On the Democratic side, many say that the "sabotage" of the Trump government has caused losses of coverage (there is no evidence of this).
"That proves the great importance that people give to health insurance," said Katherine Hempstead, a health adviser at the non-partisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "People are clinging tenaciously to their health insurance."
Even so, the probe found some worrying indicators of potential future problems:
-The rate of uninsured rose among "non-poor" adults (middle class). That increase was statistically significant, at 8.2% in 2017. Hempstead said that could reflect the impact of a considerable increase in premiums for individual plans for middle-class people, who are not eligible for subsidies under the law. "They are required to pay the full retail cost of health insurance costs," he said.
-The rate of uninsured increased significantly also in states that have not taken advantage of the expansion under the Medicaid program law for low-income people. It averaged 19% for adults in states that did not expand Medicaid, a huge difference from the 9% of uninsured in states with expanded coverage. The expansion of Medicaid has survived republican cancellation efforts, and several states are ready to join the other 32 that already have the program.