The number of adults living in the United States without health coverage increased by more than half a million during President Trump’s first year in office, after steadily declining since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010 and began expanding health coverage for millions of people, according to data released Monday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Trump has promised to “blow up” the ACA and his administration has worked to weaken certain key provisions ever since Republicans in Congress failed to repeal and replace the health care law early 2017. The administration also drastically cut funding for and access to outreach programs that help people enroll in the ACA health coverage marketplace.
The number of uninsured adults under the age of 65 declined dramatically from 44 million in 2013 to just below 27 million in 2016, as ACA provisions expanding Medicaid and offering subsidized insurance plans for people with lower incomes went into effect, according to the Kaiser report. In the first year after Trump took office in 2017, the number of adults living without health coverage increased by nearly 700,000, when about 10 percent of US residents reported living without health insurance.
Multiple factors contributed to this steep decline in coverage. First, 13 of the 18 states with the highest rates of uninsured adults in 2017 had refused the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, the public insurance program for people with lower incomes. Economic conditions and the availability of employer-sponsored health coverage also play a role in coverage rates, according to the Kaiser report.
Elizabeth Lower-Basch, director of income and work supports at the Center for Law and Social Policy, said non-expansion states could be experiencing a “ripple effect,” where higher numbers of uninsured people weaken ACA marketplace insurance pools and raise health care…