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Kaiser Health News Original Stories

6. Political Cartoon: 'Ancient History'

Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'Ancient History'" by Darrin Bell.

Here's today's health policy haiku:


When it comes to health...
Whose temperature matters --
Candidates? Voters?

If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.

Summaries Of The News:

Administration News

7. Census Report Finds Number Of Uninsured Drops To 29 Million Americans

The uninsured rate plummets to 9.1 percent, and nearly 13 million more people are insured than when the health law began implementation in 2013, the Census Bureau reports.

The Washington Post: Uninsurance Rate Drops To The Lowest Level Since Before The Great Recession
About 4 million Americans gained health insurance last year, decreasing the nation’s uninsured rate to 9.1 percent, the lowest level since before the Great Recession, according to new federal figures. The figures, released Tuesday from a large annual Census Bureau survey, show that the gains were driven primarily by an expansion of coverage among people buying individual policies, rather than getting health benefits through a job. This includes, but is not limited to, the kind of coverage sold on the insurance exchanges that began in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. (Goldstein, 9/13)

The New York Times: U.S. Household Income Grew 5.2 Percent In 2015, Breaking Pattern Of Stagnation
The Census Bureau also reported that the share of Americans with health insurance continued to increase. It said that only 9.1 percent of the population had no health insurance last year. Several states, including Alaska, Indiana and Pennsylvania, expanded their Medicaid programs in 2015, taking advantage of increased federal funding under the Affordable Care Act. Private sector coverage also increased as companies hired more workers and offered them better benefits. (Applebaum, 9/13)

Kaiser Health News: Number Of Uninsured Falls Again In 2015
Still, between 2013 and 2015, the first two full years the health law was in effect, the uninsured rate dropped by more than 4 percentage points. The total number of uninsured fell by 12.8 million. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans with insurance for at least some part of the year climbed to 90.9 percent, by far the highest in recent memory. (Rovner, 9/13)

Bloomberg: Rate Of Uninsured In U.S. Dropped To All Time-Low Last Year 
The uninsured rate fell in at least 47 states and the District of Columbia, with non-statistically significant changes in three states, the Census said. “All the states saw a reduction, but the big reductions came from the states that expanded Medicaid,” Ken Thorpe, professor of health policy and management at Emory University, said in a telephone interview. “If the remaining states expanded Medicaid, I believe the rate would decline as low as 6.1 percent, which would have an enormous impact on the economy and the health-care industry.” (Doherty, 9/13)

The Hill: Census: Uninsured Rate Drops Under ObamaCare 
The uninsured rate fell to 9.1 percent in 2015, according to new data from the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau has found a significant drop in the uninsured rate since 2013, before ObamaCare’s coverage expansion went into effect. In 2013, the uninsured rate was 13.3 percent. The difference between then and 2015 translates to roughly 13 million people gaining insurance, as the number of uninsured people fell from about 42 million to about 29 million. (Sullivan, 9/13)

Modern Healthcare: Uninsured Rate Drops, But Medical Expenses Still Drag Millions Into Poverty 
However, separate census data showed that medical out-of-pocket expenses dragged 11.2 million people into poverty in 2015, a potential symptom of the shift of moving employees and individuals into health plans that have higher deductibles, copays and coinsurance rates. “This (report) is really validating the point that the law is working to expand health insurance coverage,” said Erin Trish, a health policy professor at the University of Southern California. But, she said, “There's definitely evidence suggesting people are still having a hard time making their payments for the premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.” (Herman, 9/13)

8. Decline In States' Uninsured Rates Vary Widely

California, Kentucky, Illinois -- all states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the health law -- have seen significant cuts in their uninsurance rates, but in other states, such as Texas and Georgia, the declines in uninsured has been more modest.

Sacramento Bee: California Halves Medically Uninsured Rate To 8.6 Percent
California’s vigorous embrace of Obamacare, particularly its sharp expansion of Medi-Cal coverage for the poor, has ... reduced the state’s medically uninsured population by half, a new Census Bureau report says. Three years ago, California had one of the nation’s lowest rates of medical insurance coverage, with 17.2 percent of its nearly 40 million residents lacking coverage, but by 2015, its uninsured rate had dropped to 8.6 percent, the Census Bureau study found. (Walters, 9/13)

Georgia Health News: Georgia Again Ranks High In Rate Of Uninsured
Georgia’s uninsured rate of 13.9 percent in 2015 was the nation’s third-highest, trailing only Texas and Alaska, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday. The rate in Georgia fell from 15.8 percent the previous year. The number of Georgians without health insurance, 1,388,000, was the fourth-highest total in the nation in 2015. (By contrast, Georgia is the No. 8 state in overall population.) (Miller, 9/13)

Chicago Tribune: Uninsured Rate Drops Again In Illinois After Obamacare Takes Effect 
The number of Illinois residents without health insurance dipped below the 1 million mark last year after implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to Census Bureau data released Tuesday. About 900,000 Illinoisans, or 7.1 percent of state residents, lacked health insurance in 2015. That's down from 1.2 million uninsured in 2014 and far fewer than the 1.6 million who were without insurance in 2013, before many provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect. (Schencker, 9/13)

Des Moines Register: Fewer Iowans Lack Insurance, Census Report Says
The number of Iowans without health insurances continues to decline, according to new Census data. Five percent of Iowans lacked insurance in 2015, down from 6.2 percent in 2014 and 8.1 percent in 2013, according to the data released Tuesday as part of a national report on health insurance coverage. In all, about 155,000 Iowans don't have insurance. That's down from about 248,000 two years earlier, a 38 percent drop. (Aschbrenner, 9/13)

Kansas Health Institute: Uninsured Rates Fall In Kansas And Missouri
The uninsured rates

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