Obamacare Gains Show What’s Possible

Margot Sanger-Katz comments on the recent Gallup poll showing the disparate rates of uninsured across the country.

“According to the new poll, Arkansas and Kentucky have had the largest reductions in uninsured rates in the country … West Virginia also made Gallup’s top-10 list. These three states had very high numbers of residents who lacked insurance and qualified for the new public programs; it is not a surprise that, with a commitment to these new programs, they saw significant coverage gains.”

“Leaders in Arkansas and Kentucky fought political headwinds to change their health insurance systems. Arkansas’s Republican-majority legislature embraced the Medicaid expansion only after devising a creative and unusual approach, using private insurance for many of the newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries.”

“They stand out dramatically compared with neighboring states. Look at Tennessee, which borders Arkansas and Kentucky. It neither expanded Medicaid nor ran its own exchange. Its rate of uninsurance went down, too, but by much less — only 2.4 percentage points.”

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