In first full year, health care law makes headway in cutting the uninsured rate

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    (Photo via ShutterStock)

    The Affordable Care Act has survived its challenge in the Supreme Court. In another win, new information from the federal government shows the legislation has helped reduce the uninsured rate.

    In 2014, the number of Americans going without insurance fell to 36 million, or 11.5 percent — a nearly 3 percentage point drop, and the lowest level since 1997, when the CDC began keeping tabs through the National Health Interview Survey.

    Rachel Garfield, a senior researcher with the Kaiser Family Foundation, said the new numbers show the policy is working as expected.

    “This has been a somewhat intractable policy problem in the U.S. for decades really,” she said. “The drop that we’re seeing in the past year, in the 9 million to 10 million range, is unprecedented in terms of bringing people into coverage.”

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    The gains are most impressive for poorer Americans who qualified for free coverage in states that expanded Medicaid, or got a hefty price cut on insurance premiums on the marketplace.

    In the region, Delaware posted the biggest improvement, cutting its uninsured rate by 5.3 percentage points for residents under the age of 65. Pennsylvania also dropped significantly, with 4 percentage points. New Jersey, which expanded some parts of Medicaid prior to the law, saw a decrease of just 3 percentage points.

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