Number of Uninsured Americans Increases in the Past Years

The number of insured individuals rose during the Obama Administration, especially with Obamacare and Medicaid offerings, according to The New York Times. However, new findings by Gallup show that this number is fast declining with the rate of uninsured American adults remaining at 13.7% towards the end of 2018. As per Gallup, this is the greatest rate of adults without medical insurance since the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

This current level remains under the highest documented point before the said law, which is 18%. However, yet it is the least favourable performance in over 4 years.

Affected Subgroups

According to Gallup, women and young adults show the lowest insured rates. For women in households with lower than $48,000 annual income, the number of uninsured individuals rose from 8.9% in the last quarter of 2016 to 12.8% before 2018 ended. The same situation is true with young adults under 35 years old. In 2016, the uninsured rate was 16.2% and spiked to over 21% in 2018.

Aside from women and young adults, households with lower annual incomes are showing high uninsured rates. Those who earn below $24,000 per year showed increased rates from 22.6% in 2016 to 25.4% in 2019. Meanwhile, households with $24,000 to $48,000 annual incomes surged from 16.1% in 2016 to 19.1% to 2018, amounting to a 3-point – and highest – increase.

Possible Reasons

This increase in people without insurance came after Republicans criticized the Affordable Care Act, according to the Guardian. Furthermore, the Guardian states that this attack on the law came in the form of “work requirements to Medicaid,” which is approved by the current administration.

Budget cuts also affected the funding for federal employees who work to encourage Americans to avail of medical insurance. This cut caused the funding to decrease from $63 million in 2016 to a mere $10 million in 2018. Another reason the number of adults without insurance increased is the elimination of tax penalties for Americans who opt not to avail health insurance.

In a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, it was revealed that 56% of American pollsters support an initiative called Medicare-for-All.