Number Of Uninsured Americans Didn’t Change In Trump’s First Year

Robert Donachie | Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter

The number of uninsured Americans remained stagnant in 2017, despite President Donald Trump’s administration’s numerous moves to undercut the program and reshape the nation’s health care system.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a new nationwide survey Tuesday that found roughly 9.1 percent of all Americans, or 29.3 million individuals, were uninsured at the time they were interviewed. That is roughly the same as 2015 and not statistically different from 2016 figures. The number of people covered under Obamacare also remained nearly the same. (RELATED: People Are Signing Up For Obamacare Like Crazy)

Among adults ages 18-64 in 2017, some 12.8 percent were uninsured at the time they were interviewed for the survey. Nearly 70 percent of those within that age group had private health insurance coverage and 19.3 percent had public health insurance coverage.

Overall, there are 19.3 million fewer Americans living without health insurance since Obamacare passed in 2010.

That lack of change in the uninsured rate may come as a surprise to those who have closely watched the Trump administration take a number of swipes at the Affordable Care Act marketplace in 2017.

The Trump administration is no stranger to shocking the health care market, having used a fair amount of executive influence to make changes in the marketplace in 2017.

After Republicans in Congress were unable to repeal and replace Obamacare in 2017, Trump stopped funding for crucial subsidies, known as cost-sharing reductions, cut funding for both the Obamacare navigator program and for open enrollment advertising. Additionally, the administration cut the Obamacare’s open enrollment period in half, causing the number of Americans enrolled in the Obamacare marketplace to drop by the millions.

The administration took additional measures this year, slashing the program’s advertising budget 90 percent, meaning fewer people will get targeted advertisements to encourage them to purchase health insurance. (RELATED: Trump’s Newest Move To Gut Obamacare)

One important thing to note is that many of the changes the administration enacted in 2017 aren’t yet in effect, so the overall reaction in the Obamacare marketplace is yet realized.

The 2017 figures remaining largely stagnant could be due to a few reasons. The economy is improving and, with it, more Americans are employed. With employment often comes employer-sponsored health insurance, which means fewer people without health insurance.

Time will tell how repealing the individual mandate in the 2017 tax reform law and the administration’s plan to expand association health care plans end up changing the uninsured rate.

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