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: Boosting Corporate Tax Revenues

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have all proposed increasing taxes on corporations, including raising income tax rates to levels ranging from 25% to 35%, up from the current 21% imposed by the Republican tax cuts in 2017. With Bernie Sanders leading the way at $3.9 trillion, here’s how much revenue the higher proposed corporate taxes, along with additional proposed surtaxes and reduced tax breaks, would generate over a decade, according to calculations by the right-leaning Tax Foundation, highlighted Wednesday by Bloomberg News.

Chart of the Day: Discretionary Spending Droops

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The federal government’s total non-defense discretionary spending – which covers everything from education and national parks to veterans’ medical care and low-income housing assistance – equals 3.2% of GDP in 2020, near historic lows going back to 1962, according to an analysis this week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Chart of the Week: Trump Adds $4.7 Trillion in Debt

By The Fiscal Times Staff

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated this week that President Trump has now signed legislation that will add a total of $4.7 trillion to the national debt between 2017 and 2029. Tax cuts and spending increases account for similar portions of the projected increase, though if the individual tax cuts in the 2017 Republican overhaul are extended beyond their current expiration date at the end of 2025, they would add another $1 trillion in debt through 2029.

Chart of the Day: The Long Decline in Interest Rates

Wall Street slips, Dow posts biggest weekly loss of 2013
By The Fiscal Times Staff

Are interest rates destined to move higher, increasing the cost of private and public debt? While many experts believe that higher rates are all but inevitable, historian Paul Schmelzing argues that today’s low-interest environment is consistent with a long-term trend stretching back 600 years.

The chart “shows a clear historical downtrend, with rates falling about 1% every 60 years to near zero today,” says Bloomberg’s Aaron Brown. “Rates do tend to revert to a mean, but that mean seems to be declining.”

Chart of the Day: Drug Price Plans Compared

By The Fiscal Times Staff

Lawmakers are considering three separate bills that are intended to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Here’s an overview of the proposals, from a series of charts produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. An interesting detail highlighted in another chart: 88% of voters – including 92% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans – want to give the government the power to negotiate prices with drug companies.