The question of Obamacare’s ultimate success doesn’t have just one answer — it has 51.
Each state is its own insurance marketplace, and has its own set of insurance companies selling products within its new insurance exchange. And there’s a huge gap in how well the states fared during Obamacare’s first open-enrollment window.
The Health and Human Services Department released its final sign-up figures Thursday, and the biggest headline from the report is one we already knew: About 8 million people — more precisely, 8.02 million — picked a plan through the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges during the six-month enrollment window.
Roughly 28 percent of them were young adults — not as high as the administration wanted, but apparently not too far out of line with what insurance companies predicted.
Both national totals are important political metrics, but to take stock of where the health care law stands as it approaches the second year of enrollment, the real story is in the states.
Here are the five states that signed up the highest percentage of their eligible residents, based on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s estimates of who’s eligible for exchange coverage:
1. Vermont (85 percent)
2. California (43 percent)
3. Rhode Island (41 percent)
4. Florida (39 percent)
5. Idaho (38 percent)
And the five that signed up the lowest percentage:
1. South Dakota (11 percent)
2. Iowa (11 percent)
3. Massachusetts (12 percent)
4. North Dakota (14 percent)
5. Hawaii (15 percent)
How many are newly insured?
The latest HHS report also offers a little more information — though still not a complete answer — about the number of people who were previously uninsured when they picked a plan through Obamacare. It’s an important question because the goal of the law is to reduce the number of uninsured Americans — not just to change the coverage people have.
HHS doesn’t have detailed information about people’s prior coverage, but consumers do have to list their insurance status when they apply for financial assistance through the exchanges. Of the people who applied for tax subsidies and went on to pick a plan through federally run exchanges — about 5 million people — only 13 percent said they already had some form of coverage, according to HHS’s latest report.
Outside estimates, including a recent analysis from the Rand Corporation, have suggested the share of previously insured consumers is significantly higher — as high as 60 percent, according to Rand.
What is the demographic breakdown?
Of those who opted to report race/ethnicity on their applications, whites represented the largest portion of enrollees, at 62.9 percent. African-Americans made up 16.7 percent, Latinos made up 10.7 percent, and Asians were 7.9 percent. Almost one-third of the 5.4 million people who signed up for coverage on the federally facilitates marketplace declined to select their race or ethnicity, or marked “other.”
Thursday’s enrollment report only included demographic information from the states participating in the federal marketplace, and the three state-based exchanges that have released that information: California, Washington, and Nevada.
There has been a large focus on enrolling Latinos in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, as the group makes up one-quarter of all eligible uninsured individuals in the U.S., and is uninsured at a far higher rate than the overall U.S. population.
What We're Following See More »
"After hours of private talks," Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed to step down as chair of the Democratic National Committee after the convention ends. In the wake of the convention intrigue, Hillary Clinton announced she's making Wasserman Schultz "the honorary chair of her campaign's 50-state program."
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.