Census: Uninsured rate held steady in 2017, with 28.5M lacking coverage

Census: Uninsured rate held steady in 2017, with 28.5M lacking coverage
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The rate of Americans without health insurance remained flat in 2017 at 8.8 percent, according to data released Wednesday by the Census Bureau.

The 8.8 percent uninsured rate in 2017, which translates to 28.5 million people, was the same as the rate from 2016.

The data show that in the first year of the Trump administration, the uninsured rate remained the same as in the last year under President Obama. That is a contrast to data released in January from Gallup, which showed three million additional people without health insurance in President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE’s first year and drew condemnation from Democrats.

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The Census data are seen as more reliable than the Gallup data, though.

Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said that it is possible the uninsured rate could increase in 2018 or 2019, as the Trump administration’s changes to ObamaCare take effect.

For example, the Trump administration has drastically cut back on funding for outreach to help people enroll in coverage. The repeal of the mandate to have coverage from the GOP tax law passed in December 2017, which takes effect in 2019, is expected to increase the uninsured rate.

After dropping significantly starting in 2014 with the implementation of ObamaCare, the uninsured rate has now flattened out, with almost 30 million people still lacking coverage.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE (I-Vt.) cites that figure in calling for his Medicare for All proposal to extend government-provided insurance to everyone.

“New Census data continues to show the historic progress in reducing the number of people uninsured has stalled,” Levitt wrote on Twitter. “In a different environment, we might be having a debate about how to change that.”