Thanks to private option, Arkansas outlier in the South in reducing uninsured rate | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thanks to private option, Arkansas outlier in the South in reducing uninsured rate

Posted By on Sat, Oct 31, 2015 at 4:02 PM

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Cool interactive map from the folks at New York Times Upshot blog tracking the uninsured rate since the enactment of Obamacare. The maps show the uninsured rate by county in 2013, then 2014 and 2015 after the major coverage provisions of the health care law were enacted. The image above shows 2015, with darker purple equaling higher uninsured rates; head on over to the Upshot for their graphic showing change over three years and county-by-county rates.  

It offers a stark picture of how far we've come and how far we still have to go, particularly in the South, where most states have refused to expand Medicaid.  

From the article: 

Two years into Obamacare, clear regional patterns are emerging about who has health insurance in America and who still doesn’t.

The remaining uninsured are primarily in the South and the Southwest. They tend to be poor. They tend to live in Republican-leaning states.

What's that extreme outlier in the sea of purple uninsured in Dixie? It's Arkansas, of course, thanks to the private option, which has provided insurance to more than 200,000 of the state's low-income residents. That's led to cutting the uninsured rate in half, the biggest drop in the nation (Kentucky, another rare Southern state that expanded Medicaid, is close behind). 

Before Obamacare, one in four Arkansans between the ages of 18 and 64 had no health insurance. It's worth remembering that that is the world that the private option's diehard opponents wish to return to. 

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