Obamacare Drives Uninsured Rate to Record Low

Obamacare Drives Uninsured Rate to Record Low

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
By Millie Dent

With the number of Americans lacking health insurance in decline, the rate of uninsured Americans has hit a record low, reaching levels not seen since the National Center for Disease Statistics began keeping records in 1972.

In the first quarter of 2015, 9.2 percent of all Americans were uninsured, according to new data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, down from 11.5 percent in 2014. The total number of uninsured Americans fell by 7 million over the past year, from 36 million in 2014 to 29 million in the first three months of 2015.

The largest declines were seen among adults who were poor or near-poor, suggesting that the Affordable Care Act was responsible for the most significant gains in coverage. Both groups dropped from uninsured rates near 50 percent in 2010 to 28 percent among poor adults and 23.8 percent among near-poor adults in 2015.

While Democrats are citing data as evidence that the Affordable Care Act is working, Republicans will likely argue that the reduction is being driven by an improving economy and a steadily declining unemployment rate. 

Arkansas and Kentucky continue to record the most noticeable reductions in uninsured rates since Obamacare took effect at the beginning of 2013, according to a new report by Gallup. Texas is the only state to still have an uninsured rate higher than 20 percent. 

Chart of the Day: Long Way to Go on Coronavirus Testing

Healthcare workers with ChristianaCare test people with symptoms of the coronavirus in a drive-thru in the parking lot of Chase
Jennifer Corbett
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.

After Spending $2 Billion, Air Force Bails Out on Planned Upgrades of B-2 Bombers

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies over the Missouri Sky after taking off from the Whiteman Air For..
© Hyungwon Kang / Reuters
By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”

Big Hurdle for Sanders’ Plan to Cancel Student Debt

Chip East / REUTERS
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.  

The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”

Number of the Day: $7 Million

NY mayor cites climate stance in endorsing Obama
By The Fiscal Times Staff

That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”