On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued its Health Insurance Coverage: Early Release of Estimates from the National Health Interview Survey, 2017. The report provides a full-year of health insurance estimates for the U.S. The study questions approximately 78,000 people every quarter and monitors the number of Americans with and without health insurance.
The findings show the overall number of people uninsured remained relatively flat over last year. In 2017, there were 29.3 million persons (9.1%) uninsured compared to 28.6 million persons (9%) in 2016. The results seem to belie other survey expectations and the noise made over the past 12 months in regards to President Trump’s on-going agenda to kill Obamacare.
HYSTERIA CALMED ON THE LEFT
Earlier this month, the Commonwealth Fund held a private survey, which reported: “the uninsured rate among working-age people, that is those between 19 and 64, rising to 15.5 % in 2017, up from 12.7 in 2016, meaning an estimated 4 million people lost coverage.” The prediction had Obamacare supporters pulling their hair out. The CDC report has calmed them, as most insurance experts believe it to be more definitive and the authoritative resource on insurance coverage due to the large number of participants, quarterly intervals, and the fact that the survey is done in person.
In November of last year, Liberty Nation reported on the hysteria from the left that President Trump had “sabotaged” the enrollment process of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by shortening the sign-up period and cutting the outreach and education budget for Obamacare by 90% from $100 million to $10 million. Based on the newly released CDC report, it appears to be $90 million well saved.
Other notable findings in the survey results include that the number of uninsured dropped slightly in states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA and rose a little bit in those that did not. The number of people under the age of 65 enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchange plans decreased in from 11.6 million (4.3%) in 2016 to 9.8 million (3.6%) in 2017. Additionally, the number of high deductible health plans (HDHP) increased from 39.4% in 2016 to 43.7% in 2017. In this robust economy, it is possible that as younger and healthier people are getting back into the workforce, they opt to switch from marketplace plans to the lower premium HDHPs.
SPECULATION BUT NO ACTION EXPECTED
No doubt speculation of what will happen in the next 12 months will continue, especially with the individual mandate going away in 2019. Experts suggested that this alone could result in some 2 to 4 million electing to drop insurance coverage. President Trump and his administration are working to find ways to expand the use of association health plans, groups of small businesses that pool together to buy health insurance and to broaden the definition of short-term insurance. Critics worry these moves could have the potential to increase premiums in ACA plans already in place and cause the number of uninsured individuals to grow.
Repeal and replace seems to be a bad dream that neither the Democrats nor Republicans want to relive. Instead, the swamp people will continue to waste their time marching to the “who did what with the Russians” drum. In the meantime, we taxpayers will have to live on a hope and a prayer when it comes to fixing the healthcare crisis in America.