Time: D H M S

Every quarter, Gallup posts the results of an exhaustive healthcare coverage survey (with over 25,000 U.S. adults). They just posted the latest update, which covers the fourth quarter of 2017, and the results are...striking.

Gallup has a rather annoying habit of not including the full Y-axis in their charts, so I've reformatted their quarterly survey results into a fuller version, noting a couple of key dates. The most obvious takeaway:

  • The U.S. uninsured rate among adults, which had reached 18% just before the major Affordable Care Act provisions (individual market exchanges and Medicaid expansion) kicked into effect, reached an all-time low of 10.9% last winter...
  • ...only to reverse the trend since then, climbing back up again over the first year of the Trump Administration to end 2017 at 12.2%.

One important thing to keep in mind is that Gallup's surveys only include adults over 18, which means they only include about 77% of the population. Since children tend to have a much lower uninsured rate than adults (thanks in large part to programs like Medicaid and CHIP), this skews the results for the total population by several percentage points.

Here's what I wrote last July, when Gallup released their 2015 Q2 Uninsured Rate survey (which pegged the uninsured rate among adults (over 18) at 11.4%:

Going forward, I'm actually not expecting the Q3 2015 Gallup survey to show much of a change; we're in the heart of the off-season, the #ACATaxTime additions have already been accounted for, and Montana is the only state which is expected to expand Medicaid anytime soon, so Q3 will probably hold steady at 11.4%, give or take; the rate might even inch up a few tenths of a percent due to attrition. Still, the overall picture is pretty dramatic: Whatever else you can say about the ACA in terms of cost, it's definitely accomplishing the other half of its goal: The total number of uninsured Americans has been cut by about 16 million people since October 2013.

Here's what I wrote about Gallup's actual 2015 Q3 report, in which, sure enough, the uninsured rate for adults did go up two tenths of a percentage point (to 11.6%):

Presented Without Comment:

U.S. adults are slightly more likely to say it is the responsibility of the federal government to ensure all Americans have health insurance coverage (51%) than to say it is not the government's responsibility (47%). The percentage who believe the government has that obligation is up six percentage points from 2014. This year marks the first time since 2008 that a majority of Americans say the government is responsible for making sure all citizens have health insurance.

I was kind of hoping that this morning's Gallup uninsured rate news would include a monthly update for July; instead, it only runs through the end of June, the same quarterly survey results that they released a month ago. Then again, things probably didn't change much in July.

Instead, this time they've broken the numbers out by state:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Arkansas and Kentucky continue to have the sharpest reductions in their uninsured rates since the healthcare law took effect at the beginning of 2014. Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington join them as states that have at least a 10-percentage-point reduction in uninsured rates.