There is nothing worse than a desperately sick child as a parent sits by helplessly, unable to afford medical care. Donald Trump has appeared oblivious to the dire situation for millions of Americans at best, uncaring at worst. People can expect the situation to get dramatically worse.
According to a new Gallup poll,3.2 million people dropped off of the list of those insured in the president’s first year in office. That was the largest number since President Barack Obama implemented the Affordable Care Act (ACA/ObamaCare).
The Gallup-Sharecare Well-being Index measured the number of insured people within the nation, and that number increased by 1.3 percentage points in 2017. It found four groups of individuals were among the highest declines: black Americans, Latino Americans, and those of all races and ethnicities making under $36,000 a year, and those between 18- and 25-years old. All of these people are subject to catastrophic illness, accidents, and chronic illnesses.
The majority of good drivers balance out the bad drivers and keep the automobile insurance costs affordable for both demographics. The ACA works the same way. Young, healthy people buy health insurance and keep the costs affordable for those who are older and sicker.
In the last quarter of President Obama’s final term, 2016, the number of uninsured people dropped to a record low, just 10.9 percent. At its highest number, 18 percent of Americans had no health insurance, in the third quarter of 2013. That was just prior to the Obamacare coverage expansion.
The Gallup-Sharecare data indicated that the number of people who bought their own insurance through the Affordable Care Act dropped 20.3 percent, a one percent decrease during Trump’s first year. The ACA’s individual mandate was implemented in the fourth quarter of 2013 and required people to buy health insurance or pay a substantial penalty.
The number of people who bought their own coverage went up 3.7 percent between the implementation of the individual mandate and 2016.
Donald Trump signed a major tax plan the Republicans passed without one Democratic vote in December 2017. The legislation repealed the individual mandate.
A variety of factors caused the increase in the uninsured in 2017. Due to the president’s threats to kill off Obamacare, some insurance companies found the market too volatile and quit offering insurance via the ACA exchanges. That dropped the competition down and the consumer costs up. In addition, higher consumer costs may have forced people who did not qualify for federal subsidies to drop their insurance coverage.
Republicans made numerous attempts to repeal and replace the ACA in 2017, but failed each time until they tucked repealing the individual mandate into their tax bill.
Trump cut the budget to advertise the dates of open health insurance enrollment by 90 percent, which likely impacted the number of people who dropped insurance.
The media may have played their part in the higher number of uninsured individuals, as well. The coverage of the Republicans attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare could have contributed to people questioning whether the penalty for not buying insurance would be dropped.
The government will drop almost two million children from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) unless Congress renews the program. According to NBC:
‘CHIP administrators say, parents are panicking and permanent damage has been done to the program, set up to take care of kids who don’t have health insurance through other programs. CHIP covers 9 million children across the country. Congress failed to authorize funding in September, and some states have already started warning parents to get their last medical visits in while money lasts.’
Gallup-Sharecare collected its data via telephone interviews of 25,072 Americans 18-years-old and older living within all 50 states. The interviews were completed between October 1 and December 31, 2017. The margin of error was a substantially low +/- one percentage point.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Mark Wilson.