New Census Figures Show Federal Health Care Reform is Working

St. Paul, Minnesota, September 12, 2012 - New data from the U.S. Census Bureau provide evidence that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The Census Bureau’s annual Current Population Survey showed the number of young adults in the U.S. without health insurance dropped by 2.2 percentage points in 2011, the largest decline in the uninsurance rate for any age group. Census officials credit the ACA provision that allows young people age 19 to 25 to stay on their parents’ health insurance for 40 percent of the decline.

“That provision has made a dramatic improvement in the lives of young people who can receive the health care they need,” said Minnesota Budget Project Deputy Director Christina Wessel. “Even more Minnesotans can benefit from the ACA if the state makes the right choices, such as expanding Medicaid to ensure that 57,000 more Minnesotans receive affordable and comprehensive health insurance.”

The Census data released today show some troubling trends for Minnesota as well. The state’s poverty rate, income and health insurance coverage rates have worsened over the last ten years.

Minnesota’s median income has fallen by nearly $13,000 since 2000-2001; the percentage of people living below the poverty line has risen by four percentage points; and the percentage of uninsured has increased by nearly three percentage points.

“Minnesota must work on reversing our ‘decade of decline’ in the economic well-being of state residents,” Wessel said. “Federal and state policymakers have important decisions to make on policies such as extending Unemployment Insurance benefits to help struggling families make ends meet.”

Check out the Minnesota Budget Project’s blog for more details.

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