“I’m uninsured because…”

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Graph showing reasons for nonelderly adults being uninsured in 2016

Though the ACA made massive gains in terms of reducing the number of uninsured Americans, about 27 million people are still uninsured. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows the reasons that nonelderly adults are uninsured. Cost and employment are the two biggest factors.

These data counter the narrative championed by Speaker Ryan against the individual mandate that people want the ‘freedom’ to not pay for insurance that they don’t feel they need. Only 2% of respondents say that they feel that way, whereas the other 98% of respondents do want health insurance but lacked access.

There are many policy levers available to ameliorate the reasons people lack insurance. Further expanding Medicaid and stabilizing ACA marketplaces are things that can be done in the short term. Proposals for universal health care coverage, like a French all-payer system, must be in the long term conversation to address the concerns and welfare of all Americans permanently.

Feature image graph from Kaiser Family Foundation: Key Facts about the Uninsured

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