New NHIS Data Show Uninsured Rate for Adults is Twice as High in States that Haven’t Expanded Medicaid

Buried in a report this week by the Division of Health Interview Statistics of the National Center for Health Statistics (part of the federal US Department of Health and Human Services) is an interesting comparison of the uninsured rate between Medicaid expansion states and non-expansion states. In the first nine months of 2017, adults in the 18 states that have refused the federal government’s Medicaid expansion funding were uninsured at a rate double that of adults in Medicaid expansion states.

Adult Uninsured Rate

There are few other simple statistics that sum up so clearly the ridiculous situation the leaders of 18 states have created in our country. Simply put, the accident of where an American citizen happens to live makes a huge difference in the ability of that American to go see a doctor for a bad case of the flu, or visit an emergency room after a serious accident, and not risk bankruptcy.

Funding is available to solve this huge disparity. Political solutions involving both conservative and liberal ideas around closing the Medicaid coverage gap have been used in multiple states. This is why states like Virginia and Kansas are currently debating how best to help their citizens without affordable coverage get the care they need.  Maybe after seeing these two numbers more policymakers will join in.

Adam Searing
Adam Searing is an Associate Professor of the Practice at the Center for Children and Families