Beyond “Obamacare”: The Uncovered Population
How many people remain in need of further health reform to see adequate coverage?
1. The 2010 health reforms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – colloquially known as “Obamacare” – were implemented in stages over several years.
2. There were still 32 million Americans without health insurance as of 2014 (the most recent year available). This figure represents about 10% of the U.S. population.
3. In other developed countries such as Germany, more than 99% of the resident population is insured.
4. While the 2010 U.S. law created subsidies for middle-income Americans to help defray the cost of buying health insurance, the cost of private health insurance plans remained prohibitive for many Americans.
5. The average annual family health insurance premium in the United States amounted to $17,545 in 2015. The average family income was only $53,657 in 2014.
6. One problem in the Affordable Care Act’s implementation was an unforeseen coverage gap in Medicaid – the program that funds healthcare for low-income Americans.
7. Many Republican state governors chose not to accept the federal dollars designated to expand Medicaid, leaving an unanticipated group without coverage.
8. As health care costs keep rising, another 31 million Americans remain underinsured – meaning they are technically covered but inadequately so.
9. These people cannot afford health care plans without accepting extremely high deductibles, which exposes them to grave financial risk in case of a sickness or operation.
10. Between these factors and implementation challenges, the recent reforms did not establish universal coverage as had been hoped.
Sources: The Globalist Research Center, Kaiser Family Foundation, NPR, CNN Money and The Commonwealth Fund