Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number of uninsured Americans has risen since Obamacare was introduced a decade ago. The number of uninsured went from 7.9 percent to 8.5 percent in 2017 and 2018. That means about 2 million more people are now without health insurance thanks to the Trump administration’s relaxed regulations and gutting of previous Obamacare laws.
Also relevant, this is the first time uninsured rates have increased since the recession hit hardest during 2008 and 2009. It’s important to note because the economy is continuing to grow, while the unemployed and poverty rates continue to fall. In 2018, about 27.5 million people went without health insurance. The number will likely grow during Trump’s presidency. Even with years of inflation, the median household income is staying the same.
Some have attributed the increasing rate of uninsured to the repeal of Obamacare’s health insurance mandate, which penalized those who went without with a stiff fine. Other critics say that the law didn’t really motivate anyone to seek health insurance anyway.
One of the more concerning aspects of this increased rate of uninsured is the children who fall within that statistic. According to Census data points, about a million young people aged 18 and younger are now without insurance compared to the same time two years ago.
Joan Alker, the executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, said: “Prior to the Trump administration assuming office, reducing the number of uninsured children was a national success story. Unless things change immediately, this progress is at risk — and our children and their families will pay the price.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “President Trump’s cruel health care sabotage has left two million more people without health insurance, forced to live in constant fear of an accident or injury that could spell financial ruin for their families.”
Some analysts believe that Trump’s “public charge” rule is also compelling immigrants to stop seeking coverage or drop coverage they already have, rather than risk being deported from the United States because they need help.
The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Rachel Garfield explained, “We’ve heard a lot of anecdotal reports and even started to see some data that either immigrant families are declining to renew their coverage or not enrolling.”
The Trump administration has sought to reduce Obamacare standards by approving Medicaid work requirements in nine states to reduce the number of people who are eligible. 18,000 people in Arkansas lost their Medicaid in 2018 as a result of Trump’s changes. More states will see the new regulations go into effect soon.