16.4 million Americans who were previously uninsured, have gained health insurance coverage, since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed into law on March 23, 2010. Over 14 million uninsured adults acquired insurance following the first open enrollment period in October 2013. An additional 2.3 million young adults between the ages of 19 and 25, gained coverage between 2010 and October 2013, because of the ACA provision allowing children under the age of 26 to remain on their parent’s plan.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index estimates that the national uninsured rate has plummeted from 20.3 percent, prior to the 2013 open enrollment period, to just 13.2 percent in early 2015. Predictably, the decline in the uninsured rate was most dramatic in states that expanded Medicaid coverage.
The uninsured rate for Latinos dropped the sharpest from a baseline uninsured rate of 41.8 percent, when open enrollment began, to 29.5 percent in 2015. The African-American uninsured rate fell from 22.4 percent to 13.2 percent during the same time span. The white uninsured rate tumbled from 14.3 percent to a mere 9.0 percent over the same period.
In raw numbers, 6.6 million additional White Americans, 4.2 million Latinos, and 2.3 million African-Americans who were previously uninsured gained health care coverage under the provisions of the ACA. While no figures are calculated for Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, or American Indians, presumably they add up, to account for the remaining 1 million Americans who gained insurance over the same time frame.
The Supreme Court may choose to gut Obamacare in June. However, if they do so, they will be stripping away health care coverage for millions of Americans who have benefited from the ACA. Republicans like to attack Obamacare at every turn, but the bottom line is the ACA has brought affordable health care coverage to millions of Americans. 16.1 million Americans who did not have health coverage prior to the ACA, now have affordable care. There is no rational or humane reason for the Supreme Court, or the GOP Congress, to turn their backs on millions of Americans. However, out of sheer spite for the President’s landmark accomplishment, they will probably do just that.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.