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Uninsured rate drops to 11.5 percent

CDC report notes significant gains among young people, minorities

With millions of Americans' health insurance in jeopardy as the Supreme Court weighs a case against a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, a newly released government survey indicates that the rate of uninsured Americans has dropped to just 11.5 percent.

The National Health Interview Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 16.3 percent of people younger than 65 were uninsured in 2014, whereas 20.4 percent were uninsured in 2013. Within that larger age group, the biggest drop occurred among adults ages 19-25, according to the CDC. For people of all ages, the uninsured rate was 11.5 percent, a 2.9 percentage point drop from the year before.

Fewer poor Americans also reported lacking health insurance, as 22.3 percent had no coverage in 2014 compared to 27.3 percent in 2013. For black Americans, the 18.9 percent uninsured rate in 2013 fell to 13.5 percent.

"If all states were expanding Medicaid, you'd see an even bigger effect" on the rates of uninsured minorities and poor Americans, Larry Levitt, a director at the Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told the New York Times.

Indeed, the uninsured rate decreased more between 2013 and 2014 for Medicaid expansion states than those who chose not to expand the program, the data show.

These gains could be fleeting, however. If the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in the King v. Burwell case, the uninsured population would increase by 24 million people by 2024, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office report.

To learn more:
- here's the CDC's report (.pdf)
- read the Times article

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