BATON ROUGE – A record percentage of Louisianans were covered by health insurance in 2017, according to figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Louisiana’s uninsured rate in 2017 was 8.4 percent, down from 10.3 percent in 2016. The gains are largely attributable to the state’s decision to expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults and the impact of the the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections.
Louisiana was one of only three states to see a decrease in their uninsured rate.
These findings are critically important, as they measure the impact of the first full year of Medicaid expansion in the state. Nationally, the uninsured rate and number of uninsured in 2017 were not statistically different from 2016.
“When families have health insurance, adults are stronger workers, children do better in school, and households are more financially secure,” said Jeanie Donovan, policy director for the Louisiana Budget Project. “The new Census data underscore how the expansion of Medicaid and increased consumer protections for Louisianans in the private health insurance market have been a win-win for Louisiana.”
States like Louisiana that expanded Medicaid coverage to low-income adults saw greater improvement in coverage rates than states that did not, and the gap between expansion and non-expansion states is growing. To date, 33 states have expanded Medicaid.
In Texas, which has refused to expand the program, the uninsured rate grew to 17.3 percent in 2017 from 16.6 percent the previous year.
“Many Louisianans look to our Western neighbor an economic model, but the reality is that Louisiana is doing a much better job of ensuring that hard-working families can access the health care services they need,” Donovan said.
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