Throughout a year of Republican attacks on American health care, with more expected in 2018, it comes as no surprise that during Trump’s first year in office, the number of uninsured Americans increased for the first time since the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
After the Obamacare exchanges opened and Medicaid expansion began in 2014, during a period of time featuring soaring uninsured numbers, the number of uninsured Americans fell below 11%. However, in Trump’s first year, that number increased to over 12%. While less than two percentage points, this change represents over 3 million people.
As CNN Money reports, it’s believed that the administration and Congress’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act, which resulted in carriers leaving exchanges and others raising their rates, may have prompted people to forgo coverage. As the administration pulled back on advertising for open enrollment and slashed the number of days people could enroll in health insurance, 500,000 fewer people signed up for the federal exchanges:
The uninsured rate rose for all demographics last year, except for senior citizens, who all qualify for Medicare. Young adults age 18 to 25 and Americans earning less than $36,000 each saw a 2 percentage point increase. The rate for blacks soared 2.3 percentage points, while Hispanics saw a 2.2 percentage point jump.
According to Gallup, the 2017 increase was the biggest jump since 2008 when the group began tracking the uninsured rate.