New Census data show that Utah has made improvements in uninsured rate thanks to Medicaid, CHIP and the ACA


New Census Bureau data show that since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was fully implemented in 2014, the number of uninsured nationwide has dropped from 14.5% in 2013 to 8.6% in 2016.  The uninsured rate in Utah has also dropped from 14.0% in 2013 to 8.8% in 2015. (Data reported in the American Community Survey.)

Utah children experienced a decline in their uninsured rate, due to the impact of the ACA, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Utah’s child uninsured rate decreased from 7% in 2015 to 6% in 2016. Despite these gains, Utah is in the bottom 10 worst states for the child uninsured rate. The national child uninsured rate is 4.7%.

The data released by the Census Bureau show that the ACA and Medicaid are working for Utah families and individuals. More Utahns are able to get the care they need. However, the data released also highlights that Utah is lagging behind other states, especially those that have already accepted Medicaid expansion dollars.  States that have expanded Medicaid to include more people under the ACA, together cover a higher share of people with insurance than states that did not expand Medicaid, and that gap is growing.

“Our child uninsured rate is at an historic low and we are very pleased to see Utah’s uninsured rates drop. But compared to the rest of the nation, we are still falling behind,” said Jessie Mandle of Voices for Utah Children, adding that Utah can follow the lead of high-performing states to improve the child uninsured rate by expanding Medicaid, providing 12-months of continuous coverage to children on Medicaid, and ensuring that citizenship status is not a barrier to children’s coverage and care.

Mandle pointed out that recent attempts by Congress to cut Medicaid and repeal the ACA would reverse these health care gains, noting “Congress should protect these critical programs, and instead turn to finding bipartistan solutions to strengthen the health care Marketplace.”

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