CDC study: More Americans were uninsured even before pandemic

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The number of working-age Americans without health insurance was rising even before the coronavirus pandemic struck the U.S. and left millions unemployed, according to a new study the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released Wednesday.

The study from the CDC found that 14.5 percent of adults ages 18 to 64 were uninsured in 2019, a rise from 13.3 percent in 2018. In total, 28.8 million adults were uninsured last year, compared to 26.3 million in 2018.

Coverage was split along racial and gender lines, with just over 30 percent of Hispanic adults lacking health care, compared with 10.2 percent of white adults and 14.3 percent of Black adults. 

Men were also more likely to lack coverage than women by a 16 percent to 13.1 percent margin.

The most common reason people gave the CDC for not being insured was that coverage was “not affordable,” with nearly 74 percent of those surveyed saying health care was too expensive. Other reasons respondents gave for not being insured included not being eligible for coverage, not needing or wanting it or saying they could not find a plan that meets their needs.

The results of the study mark a reversal of improvements that were made in expanding coverage under ObamaCare. The percentage of uninsured working-age adults in the U.S. had dropped from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 13.3 percent in 2018.

The number of uninsured people is expected to have risen during the pandemic, which led to mass job losses and likely forced people to lose the coverage they received through their employment. The exact number of people who have become uninsured due to the pandemic remains unclear. 

The study comes out as health care emerges as a top issue in the 2020 election cycle in the midst of the pandemic. President Trump has repeatedly sought to revoke the Affordable Care Act, while Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to expand the law and add a public option to try to cover more people.

Tags 2020 2020 election Affordable Care Act Donald Trump Health care in the United States Health insurance Health insurance coverage in the United States Joe Biden
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