President Trump and the GOP have vowed to repeal Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but their attempts to replace the legislation would put America’s most vulnerable populations at risk for losing coverage and experiencing health problems. Under the ACA, nearly 20 million Americans have been able to get insurance since 2010.
After the Medicaid expansion in 2014, even more low-income people became eligible for coverage with the help of subsidies and tax credits that offset heath costs. Prior to the expansion, many poor adults were caught in what was known as a “coverage gap,” meaning they didn’t qualify for insurance because they made a little too much to be eligible for Medicaid.
The expansion was supposed to be implemented nationally, but thanks to a Supreme Court ruling from 2012 it’s been enacted on a state-by-state basis. As of October 2017, only 30 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid coverage.
In a 2017 study conducted by researchers from Indiana and Cornell University, researchers investigated the impact of Medicaid expansion on low-income, non-elderly childless adults— essentially, people who wouldn’t ordinarily be eligible for coverage if it weren’t for the ACA. Based on their findings, this part of the population is 17 percent more likely to be insured and 7 percent more likely to have a personal doctor and 11 percent less likely to report cost as a barrier to their health care.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of coverage for people living in poverty— households that earn less than $25,000 per year— increased in 2016. In 2010, data from the Census Bureau showed that 26.9 percent of people who made less than $25,000 had no health insurance coverage. However, in 2016, the Census Bureau reported at least 83.7 percent of people living 100 percent below the poverty line were insured. The data from the bureau also shows that the number of uninsured people living in poverty decreased by at least 9 percent.
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