The Commonwealth Fund reported today that the marked gains in health insurance coverage made since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 are beginning to reverse.
This is according to new findings from the latest Commonwealth Fund ACA Tracking Survey.
According to the survey, the coverage declines are likely the result of two major factors:
1) lack of federal legislative actions to improve specific weaknesses in the ACA and
2) actions by the current administration that have exacerbated those weaknesses. These include the administration’s deep cuts in advertising and outreach during the marketplace open-enrollment periods, a shorter open enrollment period, and other actions that collectively may have left people with a general sense of confusion about the status of the law.
Here are the key findings:
* About 4 million working-age people have lost insurance coverage since 2016
* The uninsured rates among lower-income adults rose from 20.9 percent in 2016 to 25.7 percent in March 2018
* The uninsured rate among working-age adults increased to 15.5 percent
* The uninsured rate among adults in states that did not expand Medicaid rose to 21.9 percent
* The uninsured rate increased among adults age 35 and older
* The uninsured rate among adults who identify as Republicans is higher compared to 2016
* The uninsured rate remains highest in southern states
* Five percent of insured adults plan to drop insurance because of the individual mandate repeal
What are the policy implications of this reversal?
The absence of bipartisan support for federal action has seen legislative activity shifted to the states.
Broadly, the leaving of policy innovation to states will lead to a patchwork quilt of coverage and access to health care across the country. It will fuel inequity in overall health, productivity, and well-being.
We need to get the money and the greed and the corporations out of health care altogether. We need a single payer system that does not proletarianize physicians, does not turn health care into a commodity, does not financialize it, commercialize it, and compromise it for the benefit of a few, and to the detriment to the many.
As this is May Day, the international workers’ day, wouldn’t it be nice if we could start moving in that direction, as so many other nations have already done?