According to new data from the Census Bureau, "more Iowans had access to health insurance [this year], chopping uninsurance by nearly half in just three years."
“This is the latest illustration of how the Affordable Care Act extended access to health care in our state, part of its impact in increasing coverage for millions nationwide,” said Peter Fisher, research director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project (IPP).
The American Community Survey found that Iowa’s uninsurance rate fell steadily from 8.1 percent in 2013 to 4.3 percent in 2016.
Their findings also show that the number of Iowa's uninsured population fell from 248,000 in 2013 to 132,000 in 2016 — a 47 percent drop.
Among children, uninsurance dropped from 4.4 percent in 2013 to 2.6 in 2016.
“For children, the increased access to insurance is similar to that of the Iowa population as a whole,” said Anne Discher, interim executive director of the Child & Family Policy Center (CFPC) in Des Moines, noting the number of Iowa children uninsured dropped from 34,000 in 2013 to 20,000 in 2016.
“It is indisputable that this enhanced access to health care makes it more likely that Iowans can get the health care they need for themselves and their children,” added Discher.
Among all non-elderly Iowans (those under the age of 65), uninsurance fell from 9.5 percent in 2013 to 5 percent in 2016. The decline in uninsurance among this population was 115,000 — from 246,000 in 2013 to 131,000 in 2016.
The Census Bureau's annual release showed that uninsurance nationally declined by nearly 18 million people from 2013 to 2016.
Fisher also stated that the clear impact shown in the data should be central to any discussion of changes in healthcare law, or of plans to undermine Medicaid and its expansion.
The repeal proposals in Congress (AHCA, BRCA, and Cassidy-Graham Bill) would all rescind coverage for a significant number of Iowans, including beneficiaries of the Medicaid expansion that has extended coverage to many working families who otherwise could not afford insurance, and to seniors on Medicaid.
In addition, the changes would result in higher premiums and expensive cost-shifts to states that already are facing strapped budgets, including Iowa.