These US states (almost) have universal healthcare
Universal healthcare is a primary factor on why most people decide to stay in—or leave—a place they call home. A recent survey on American emigration pointed this out as a key reason.
And looking at the bigger picture of the United States, it seems like despite having passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) more than a decade ago, there still remains a lot of work to be done in order to achieve the universal healthcare dream.
A Vox report finds that several states are coming close, though. In around 10 states, uninsured rates fall to just below five percent, and “if states are more aggressive about using all of the tools available to them under the ACA, the country could continue to bring down the number of uninsured people within its borders,” Vox writes.
When the healthcare law was signed by then-president Barack Obama in 2010, the number of uninsured Americans was recorded at around 46.5 million. Today, that number is nearly halved, with 26 million Americans left uninsured. While the rest of the states have much work to do in ensuring healthcare coverage, several states have already made effective steps others may want to follow.
In Massachusetts for example, enrollment for both Medicaid and ACA marketplace plans have been integrated and streamlined. With this integrated enrolment, the user only has to access one portal, enter their information, and will be directed to the program they’re qualified for. Massachusetts has an uninsured rate of only 2.4 percent.
Meanwhile, Minnesota and New York created basic health plans, which is one of the provisions in the health care law. While ACA designates Medicaid expansion for those in or near poverty and the marketplace plans for those whose incomes are above federal poverty level, these two states also made use of another option in the law, which allows the states to “more seamlessly integrate those two populations.”
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Minnesota’s and New York’s basic health plans “offered insurance options with lower premiums and reduced cost-sharing responsibilities than the marketplace coverage that they would otherwise have been left with,” Vox reports.
This approach has proven effective as New York reported an increase of around 42 percent in enrolment among people below the 200 percent poverty level since the plan was adopted in 2016.
Minnesota and New York have uninsured rates of 4.3 percent and 4.9 percent respectively.
Other noteworthy efforts by states like Colorado and Washington meanwhile include policy that provides state subsidies to undocumented immigrants.