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.
Freedom is the ability to buy what you want to fit what you need. Obamacare is Washington telling you what to buy regardless of your needs.
— Paul Ryan (@PRyan) February 21, 2017
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