By Phil Galewitz, California Healthline
Three years after the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion took effect, the number of Americans without health insurance fell to 28.1 million in 2016, down from 29 million in 2015, according to a federal report released Tuesday.
The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau showed the nation’s uninsured rate dropped to 8.8 percent. It had been 9.1 percent in 2015.
Both the overall number of uninsured and the percentage are record lows.
The uninsured rate has fallen in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since 2013, although the rate has been lower among the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the health law. California’s rate was 7.3 percent in 2016, less than half of its 17.2 percent rate in 2013.
“California has shown that the Affordable Care Act is working to expand health coverage and provide new patient protections,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a consumer advocacy group.
“While many thought our nation’s rising uninsured rate was unsolvable, the advancement in California shows that if policymakers and the public are united in trying to make reform work, we can do big things.”
The latest figures from the Census Bureau effectively close the book on President Barack Obama’s record on lowering the number of uninsured. He made that a linchpin of his 2008 campaign, and his administration’s effort to overhaul the nation’s health system through the ACA focused on expanding coverage.
When Obama took office in 2009, during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, more than 50 million Americans were uninsured, or nearly 17 percent of the…
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