California’s uninsured rate declined last year despite federal efforts to roll back ACA


By Phil Galewitz, California Healthline

The percentage of people without health insurance continued to decline in California last year, according to a closely watched report from the Census Bureau, released this week.

The state’s uninsured rate edged down even as Republicans in Washington, D.C. sought to roll back the Affordable Care Act. The rate of uninsurance dropped in just two other two states: New York and Louisiana.

In the Golden State, the rate of uninsured residents stood at 7.2 percent last year, compared with 7.3 percent in 2016. Since 2013, the year before the coverage-expanding provisions of the federal health law took effect, California’s uninsurance rate has dropped 10 percentage points — the largest decrease of any state, according to the Census Bureau.

“California hasn’t wavered in its efforts to expand coverage under the Affordable Care Act” despite the federal efforts to curtail it, said Laurel Lucia, director of the health care program at the University of California-Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education. Because of that, “California will be able to maintain more of the progress we have made than other states,” she said.

Covered California, the state’s ACA exchange, noted in a press statement that about 59 percent of the nearly 3 million people in the state who still lack insurance are ineligible because of their immigration status.

“When you exclude those that are ineligible for coverage, California’s ‘eligible uninsured’ rate drops to roughly 3 percent,” the exchange said.

Adult immigrants without legal documents do not qualify for full benefits in Medi-Cal, the state’s version of the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income people, or for coverage through the exchange. They can purchase coverage in the private market if they have enough money.

Nationally, the percentage of Americans without health insurance was virtually the same in 2017 as in 2016 — the last year of the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

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