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Uninsured rate mostly unchanged in Trump's first year

Uninsured rate mostly unchanged in Trump's first year
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The number of Americans without health insurance has barely changed in the past three years, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Democratic supporters of ObamaCare say Republican attacks on the law have harmed coverage, but the numbers released this week show that the uninsured rate has stayed relatively the same in President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Gillum and DeSantis’s first debate GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Gorbachev calls Trump's withdrawal from arms treaty 'a mistake' MORE’s first year.

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In 2017, the CDC found 29.3 million people — 9.1 percent of the population — were uninsured. The rate has hovered around 9 percent for the past three years; in 2016 it was 9 percent, and in 2015 it was 9.1 percent.

The number of people covered by ObamaCare exchange plans was also relatively unchanged, the CDC found.

Still, the biggest changes the Trump administration has made to the law weren’t in place in 2017, and some have yet to take place, meaning the effects likely won’t be felt until at least 2019.

The repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate that most people obtain health insurance or pay a fine was included as part of the GOP tax bill, but that was not signed into law until the end of 2017.

The administration also will increase access to cheap short-term plans with minimal coverage requirements. That proposal is expected to be finalized next month.

The CDC survey also found a widening gap between states that expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare and states that did not. The uninsured rate among the non-expansion states was more than twice as large as in expansion states.

In the 32 Medicaid expansion states (plus Washington, D.C.), 9.1 percent of people were uninsured, compared with 19 percent in the holdout states.  

A Supreme Court ruling gave states the option of taking federal money to expand Medicaid to people earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The federal government picked up 100 percent of the costs of expansion through 2016; that amount dropped to 95 percent in 2017, and will become 90 percent by 2020.