Uninsured rates for healthcare increases to 15.5 percent in 17 states
May 14, 2018
The percentage of Americans who are uninsured has jumped from 12.7 percent at the end of 2016 to 15.5 percent today in 17 states, including sharp cuts to outreach efforts.
Professor Swapna Reddy with ASU’s School for the Science of Health Care Delivery says it’s a disturbing and disappointing trend. A change in the uninsured rate will have effects on the market, costs and health care. She says it’s definitely not the direction the U.S. wants to be headed, and there are a few reasons that can explain the numbers. The main reason is likely confusion surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
“One hundred percent it’s still a law,” Reddy says. “Yes, people still have access to it. In 2017 President Trump and the Republican Congress went through many attempts to try to replace the Affordable Care Act and I think there’s a lot to be said about the confusion that whole process led to. While they were unsuccessful with a repeal and replace, most people couldn’t follow what was going on because so much was going on, and it led to a lack of confidence in whether or not the law was still in place.”
Reddy says that ironically, there are now more people who identify as Republican who are uninsured than Democrats, while the opposite was true in 2016. The sharp cuts to outreach efforts affects everyone who benefits from the Affordable Care Act. It hurts those who need it the most because they aren’t getting the information they need on how to enroll, Reddy says.
The climbing uninsured rate isn’t something that should be ignored. As Reddy says, those who don’t have health care don’t just vanish. They still have to be taken care of.
“I don’t know where they’re going to get health care,” Reddy says. “They don’t just disappear. A lot of times they are getting sicker because they don’t have the preventative care we have access to through health care. We do end up covering them through the emergency room and uncompensated care and through our own tax dollars.”