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Number of uninsured in states embracing Obamacare drops significantly

Medicaid expansion and state-run exchanges have been the main reasons for a significant drop in the uninsured rate in these states.

By Ananth Baliga
Number of uninsured in states embracing Obamacare drops significantly
Despite early setbacks to its implementation, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, has helped bring down the uninsured rate in states fully implementing the law. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, April 16 (UPI) -- The number of uninsured people has dropped 2.5 percentage points in states fully embracing the Affordable Care Act, according to Gallup.

21 states, including the District of Columbia, have expanded Medicaid and set up their own health insurance marketplace, resulting in a significant decline in the number of uninsured people aged 18 and older. These states had an uninsured rate of 16.1 percent that dropped to 13.6 percent -- a 2.5 percentage point drop.

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The other 29 states had an uninsured rate of 18.7 percent -- a difference of 2.6 percentage points from the remaining states -- which dropped marginally to 17.9 percent, though still maintaining a difference of 4.3 points. These 29 states have either implemented one of the two measures, or have completely boycotted the Affordable Care Act.

Nationally, 14.8 percent reported not having health insurance in 2008, which peaked in the third quarter of 2013 at 18 percent and has since declined to 15.6 percent.

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Despite a majority of Americans disapproving of the Affordable Care Act, the uninsured rate is falling in states that have embraced the law, and the gap between them and the remaining states is only widening.

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Many states have taken different approaches to implementing the law. Nebraska recently voted not to expand Medicaid, but New Hampshire voted to expand it, effective July 1.

A state to look out for is Utah, which is a conservative state but is seriously debating whether to implement Medicaid expansion, though with more flexible terms than as provided by the ACA.

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[Gallup]

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