New Report Shows Big Progress in Health Care Access, But States’ Gains Are Now in Jeopardy

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<p>Forty-seven states saw their adult uninsured rate drop by five percentage points or more in the first three years following the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) major health coverage expansions, according to a new Commonwealth Fund scorecard examining access to health care. </p><p>New Mexico’s rate dropped the most between 2013 and 2016, from 28 percent to 13 percent. A dozen other states, meanwhile, saw double-digit drops: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and West Virginia. The uninsured rate for children under age 19 also fell in most states during this timeframe, with Nevada’s decline the biggest. And in nearly three-quarters of states, fewer people skipped needed care because of costs.</p>
<p>However, recent policy developments — most notably the Republican tax bill’s repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate penalties and a failure to extend federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program — could cause a spike in premiums for people buying health insurance on their own and lead to a reversal of states’ gains.</p>
<p>“The Affordable Care Act has successfully allowed states to expand health insurance to millions of their residents,” said Sara Collins, Vice President for Health Care Coverage and Access at the Commonwealth Fund and a coauthor of the study. “If people are going to continue to be able to get and afford the health care they need, it will be essential to hold on to and build on these coverage gains.”</p> Learn more