New estimates of uninsured to be released 9/13/16

September 13, 2016
Another milestone in the release of federal data will come Tuesday, 9/13/16 and Thursday 9/15/16 when the U.S. Census Bureau releases results from two surveys that are widely used to estimate the number of people in the U.S. with and without health insurance.

The Bureau will release estimates from the Current Population Survey and the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS/ASEC) and the American Community Survey (ACS).  The former survey provides national estimates of insurance coverage with breakdowns by demographics, income and other characteristics, while the latter survey (ACS) provides breakdowns by state.

This is an important milestone for measuring the impact of the Affordable Care (ACA) since this survey provides one of the only national snapshots of insurance coverage for calendar year 2015, the second year of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or "Obamacare".  Some provisions went into effect before 2014, and the provisions are still being implemented.

There have been other surveys released, such as from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), and nongovernmental surveys that have shown very significant drops in the number of uninsured and percentage of persons who are uninsured (such as estimates released by the Urban Institute and Gallup). 

However, for years the CPS has been used as a quasi-official source for estimates of the uninsured in the U.S., and in latter years the ACS.  Prior to the implementation of the ACA, estimates form these surveys concluded that about 45-50 million people were uninsured (in 2012 and earlier) and in 2013 an estimated 42 million uninsured.

It is worth noting that the estimates that will be released 9/13/16 are for ANNUAL COVERAGE in 2015, and thus are still a partial snapshot of the full effect of Obamacare's impact on reducing the uninsured.  
 

Health Insurance Marketplaces: Premium Trends, 2014-16

May 12, 2016

There has been a great deal of attention recently to the premiums in the Health Insurance Marketplaces (HIMs), and the potential shape of the marketplaces in 2017. The recent announcements by some insurers that they may pull back from their role in the marketplaces authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has fueled this interest, along with the annual period when insurers submit their preliminary bids for premiums in the marketplaces, with fears that the growth in p...


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IMPORTANT MILESTONE: Insurance, uninsurance estimates for 2014 to be released Wednesday 9/16

September 15, 2015
A big milestone in the release of federal data will come on Wednesday when the U.S. Census Bureau releases results from two surveys that are widely used to estimate the number of people in the U.S. with and without health insurance.

The Bureau will release estimates from the Current Population Survey/Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS/ASEC) and the American Community Survey (ACS).  The former survey provides national estimates of insurance coverage with breakdowns by demographics, inco...
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Supreme Court upholds Obamacare again

June 25, 2015

The Supreme Court decided today on the “Obamacare” case, called “King v. Burwell” and ruled in a 6-3 decision to support the Administration’s position on the law, that subsidies should be allowable in federal marketplaces.  The Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy joined the four liberals (Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor) in the decision.  Find the decision here.

The decision is important for the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and means that perhaps a...


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Awaiting SCOTUS case on subsidies: liberal justices on majority opinions all year

June 9, 2015

Today I was looking at a New York Times article, which listed how the justices voted on "major" cases this session, and one thing struck me -- on each and every case all four so-called liberal Justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor) voted in the MAJORITY on each and every case, sometimes joined (of course) by 1-5 other justices, most frequently Kennedy, Roberts.  The three most conservative justices (Thomas, Scalia, Alito) were least often on these cases.

This led me to think about th...
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Is the Sky Falling? Let's Wait

May 27, 2015
So it's that time of the year on the calendar when private insurers who offer plans in the Health Insurance Marketplaces (HIMs) start to submit their "rate bids" for the next year, and some reporters have obtained information on these bids.  This is leading to some rather hyperbolic headlines, and reaction, about how the marketplaces may be falling apart under a cost explosion.  In fact, this is an annual experience that needs to be calmly understood, and we need more time -- and data -- to u...
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Growth in Missouri Medicaid 3.5% since ACA began

May 6, 2015
As others who follow trends in Missouri Medicaid enrollment know, Missouri is a state that has shown sluggish growth in Medicaid enrollment over the last year, even while other states have seen significant growth -- including states that have also not expanded Medicaid (experiencing the so-called "Woodwork" effect).  In fact, for several months, the growth in Medicaid in Missouri was flat or negative, and Missouri had one of the slowest rates of growth in Medicaid in the country.

It appears fr...
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Backlog facing Missouri Medicaid nearly erased

May 6, 2015

There is good news for Missouri’s Medicaid program.  In the last few months, the program (called MOHealthNET in Missouri) has really turned the corner on a challenge the program faced in the recent year – a backlog in processing applications to the program.  However, in the last 4-5 months, concerted efforts by state workers, working hard with many around the state has led to a huge drop in the backlog.

As this figure shows, the number of days it is taking for an applicant to Medicaid to...


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"Grubergate" (II): The contracts

November 18, 2014

In the latest attempt to attack Obamacare, opponents think they have a juicy new target, Prof. Jonathan Gruber, from MIT.  In addition to pulling his quotes from academic musings out of context, the opponents have a new line of attack: that supposedly Gruber "netted" millions of dollars in contracts from the federal government (the Obama administration) to do his work.  The impression left, often said directly, is that Gruber himself was paid these dollars, or that the total dollars from the ...
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Grubergate

November 18, 2014

In the last few days -- essentially since the election -- the Republicans have launched a new line of attack on Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act).  They are attacking what they call the "architect" of the ACA, who is quoted on video of making a handful of comments, which when they are heard out of context, seem quite damning. 

This latest line of attack on the ACA is rather bizarre in many ways.  Why? Here is why:

  • Everyone who closely followed the development and then passage of the ACA knows...

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About Me


Timothy McBride Timothy D. McBride, Ph.D. is a Professor at the Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis. Here you can find musings on health policy and other issues. Opinions are my own, and not those of my employer. Contact: mcbridetd@gmail.com