Uninsured rate continued to fall in 2016

Gov. Tom Wolf says Pennsylvania's uninsured rate has hit a new low

Gov. Tom Wolf says Pennsylvania's uninsured rate has hit a new low

- The percentage of people in Kansas without health insurance has fallen at a much slower rate than the nation as a whole, new Census Bureau figures show, reflecting the fact that Kansas has refused to expand its Medicaid program or actively promote other parts of the Obama administration's signature health care law.

While the percentage of insured Americans continued to fall in 2016, supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are anxious that decisions and inactions by the President Donald Trump's administration may lose those gains in the coming years.

Nationally, the number of people without insurance dropped from 29 million in 2015 to 28.1 million in 2016. Despite the drop, Texas still reported the highest uninsured rate of all 50 states - and nearly double the national uninsured rate of 8.8 percent. Medicaid now covers more than 19% of the population and Medicare almost 17%.

Government programs include Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, state health plans, Tricare and others. That means Kansas now has a higher uninsured rate, 8.7 percent, than the national average, 8.6 percent. Lighter shades of blue highlight states with lower uninsured rates. A total of 67.5 percent of Americans had private coverage and 37.3 percent had government coverage, with employer coverage insuring the largest percentage of the population (55.7 percent).

The U.S. Census found the overall percentage of insured Americans increased by about 4 percentage points since 2013 and more than 3 percentage points insured by a private health plan, which is mostly due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans and individual mandate that requires most Americans to have health insurance. Villarreal no longer accepts any form of health insurance.

The percentage of residents with insurance here also grew under the Affordable Care Act, which expanded subsidized coverage to more people.

The dramatic drop in the uninsured over the past few years played a major role in the congressional debate over the summer about whether to replace the 2010 health law. Census' report for that year showed that 10.4 percent of Americans, or 33 million people, still lacked insurance.

St. Peter said it is also possible that there was less of an increase in private insurance coverage in Kansas than there was nationwide. The U.S. uninsured rate fell 0.8 percentage points over the year, which was considered statistically significant.

Job-based insurance continued to be the most common source of coverage. Medicare was the only health insurance subtype that saw any "statistically significant difference" between 2015 and 2016. Meanwhile, 10.5% of black people and 7.6% of Asians were uninsured.

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