Arkansas's uninsured rate has dropped by half since 2013

Affordable Care Act expands health coverage to more patients, although differences remain

The uninsured rate has fallen in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since 2013, although the rate has been lower among the 31 states that expanded Medicaid as part of the health law. The 8.8% uninsured figure mirrors a National Center for Health Statistics 2017 National Health Interview Survey released last month. The uninsured rate last year was 0.3 percentage points lower than what it was in 2015 - and nearly half of what it was in 2010, the year that Obamacare began taking effect. For non-expansion states, the rates ranged from 5.3 percent in Wisconsin to 16.6 percent in Texas. This means that a total of 28.1 million Americans did not have insurance, down 900,000 from the previous year. Only the northeastern US, and some Midwest states were in lighter shades of blue, reflecting their relatively low uninsured rates.

"Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of people without health insurance coverage at the time of interview decreased in 39 states", the Census report said.

But there were sharp differences in the percentage of people uninsured at different ages, "reflecting the fragmented nature of the US health insurance system, " the Commonwealth Fund report said. Lighter shades of blue highlight states with lower uninsured rates. The expansion of the government's health insurance program for the low-income went into effect in 2014.

The data shows that 2016 was the third straight year the bureau found a decline in the share of people without health insurance.

The law gives states the option of expanding Medicaid to low-income people.

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Advocates worry all of the uncertainty and changes will confuse consumers and hurt their ability to sign up for health insurance.

While the percentage of insured Americans continued to fall in 2016, supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are anxious that decisions and inactions by the President Donald Trump's administration may lose those gains in the coming years. During 2016, MA had the lowest uninsured rate at 2.5%, while Texas had the highest at 16.6%.

Job-based insurance continued to be the most common source of coverage. Alaska and Texas were the only states with uninsured rates above 14%. The Census report also said that, "In 2016, private health insurance coverage continued to be more prevalent than government coverage, at 67.5 percent and 37.3 percent, respectively". The data also showed that 16.2% of people buy insurance directly from a health plan or through an exchange, and 4.6% of insured people have military-based coverage.

Hawaii is staying put for the second year in a row as the state with the third-lowest uninsured rate.

The rate of Medicare coverage increased from 16.3% to 16.7% in that period. Meanwhile, 10.5% of black people and 7.6% of Asians were uninsured. "Hispanics had the highest uninsured rate, at 16.0 percent", according to the report.

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