Analyst says Medicaid expansion in states could reduce number of uninsured people

Brookings fellow Vanessa Williamson said in an interview that aired Friday on "What America's Thinking" that the expansion of Medicaid in various states could prevent more Americans from becoming uninsured. 

"In future years, you might see some improvement because we've seen a Medicaid expansion in much of the states," Williamson, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Hill.TV's Jamal Simmons on Thursday. "So that should help lift that number, or at least keep it from dropping lower." 

Numerous states have expanded Medicaid coverage, including Alaska, Massachusetts, West Virginia and Ohio in recent years.

Gallup reported this week that the uninsured rate hit 13.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, well above the record-low rate of 10.9 percent seen in 2016, the last year of President Obama's second term.

Williamson said actions taken against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, by the Trump administration have impacted enrollments. 

"There are a couple of policy changes that really matter," Williamson said. "One, the individual mandate was taken away, which probably removed some of the stick part of getting people to sign up for health insurance. On the carrot side, under the Trump administration, they've reduced the marketing about ACA, they've reduced the windows in which you can enroll, so the obvious outcome of this is you're going to have less insured people." 

— Julia Manchester