Thursday, October 30, 2014

ACA has most helped rural residents, Hispanics, African-Americans, young people, study says

Rural residents, Hispanics, African-Americans and people ages 18 to 34 have most benefited from federal health reform, says Enroll America, which released county-level data showing who the Affordable Care Act has helped most, Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz reports for The New York Times. (For an interactive county-level map click here)

"The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon," Quealy and Sanger-Katz write. "Each of these trends is going in the opposite direction of larger economic patterns. Young people have fared substantially worse in the job market than older people in recent years. Blacks and Hispanics have fared worse than whites and Asians. Rural areas have fallen further behind larger metropolitan areas."

About 10 million Americans who had no insurance in 2013 signed up for Obamacare this year, and the national uninsured rate for adults under 65 dropped from 16 percent to 11 percent, Quealy and Sanger-Katz write.

"People with the lowest incomes tended to benefit the most from the law," Quealy and Sanger-Katz write. "In states that expanded Medicaid, low-income people can get insurance without having to pay a premium. And for middle-income people who qualify for tax credits to help them buy insurance, the subsidies are most generous for those lowest on the income scale. Poorer people were always the least likely to have insurance because their jobs rarely offered it and private premiums were often unaffordable." (Read more) (NYT map of changes in insured Americans)

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