KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Gallup Survey: States That Embraced Health Law See Big Drops In Uninsured

The study found that states that expanded Medicaid and set up their own exchanges experienced greater declines in the rate of uninsurance than those that didn’t. Nationwide, the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from 18 percent in September 2013, to 13.4 percent in June 2014, according to the survey. 

Los Angeles Times: Divide Between Red And Blue States Over Healthcare Deepens
States that have aggressively put the Affordable Care Act into practice have cut the number of uninsured residents sharply -- in some cases in half or better -- while those that balked have improved little if at all, according to new data released Tuesday. The state-by-state numbers, from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, reinforce one of the major impacts of Obamacare so far: Political debate has widened the healthcare gap between red and blue states (Lauter, 8/5).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: Study: States Embracing Obamacare See Biggest Drops In Uninsured
Some states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and set up all or part of their own insurance exchanges have seen a marked drop in the number of uninsured adults. The uninsured rates in states that opted to expand Medicaid, a health program primarily for low-income residents, and set up their own exchanges declined more in the first half of 2014 than in the states that didn’t take that approach, according to a study released Tuesday by Gallup. The survey was based on a random sample of adults through June 30 (Armour, 8/5).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Survey: Insurance Rates Lag In Health Law Holdout States
A Gallup poll released Tuesday says that the Affordable Care Act is significantly increasing the number of Americans with health insurance, especially in states that are embracing the law. It echoes previous Gallup surveys, and similar findings by the Urban Institute and RAND Corp. The latest Gallup survey found that, nationwide, the number of uninsured Americans dropped from 18 percent in September 2013, to 13.4 percent in June 2014. States that chose to follow the ACA’s provisions most closely, both by expanding Medicaid and establishing their own new health insurance marketplaces, as a group saw their uninsured rate drop nearly twice as much as states that declined to do so (Whitney, 8/6).

The Associated Press: Poll: Obama Health Law Is A Tale Of 2 Americas
President Obama’s health care law has become a tale of two Americas. States that fully embraced the law’s coverage expansion are experiencing a significant drop in the number of uninsured residents, according to a new survey released Tuesday. States whose leaders still object to the measure are seeing much less change. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found an overall drop of 4 percentage points in the share of uninsured residents for states accepting the law’s core coverage provisions. Those are states that expanded their Medicaid programs and also built or took an active role managing new online insurance markets (Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/6).

Seattle Times: Washington 4th In Reducing Uninsured Residents
The percentage of Washington residents without health insurance dropped from 16.8 percent last year to 10.7 percent by mid-2014 according to a national survey released Tuesday by Gallup. Only Arkansas, Kentucky and Delaware had larger declines in the percentage of uninsured residents. Oregon ranked 7th. The reductions come as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which sought to expand coverage through discounted health insurance and an expansion of who is eligible for free insurance through Medicaid. States were given the option of setting up and running their own online insurance marketplace or exchange, operating an exchange in partnership with the federal exchange, or solely using the federal exchange. They also could decide whether to expand Medicaid to cover more people (Stiffler, 8/5). 

Oregonian: Oregon Among Biggest Gainers In Health Insurance Coverage, Gallup Poll Says
Despite problems with its health insurance exchange, Oregon ranks among the top 10 states for a drop in the number of uninsured, according to a new Gallup poll. A telephone survey showed 14 percent of Oregonians were uninsured through midyear 2014, compared to 19.7 percent uninsured last year (Budnick, 8/5).

The Hill: Fewer Uninsured in Arkansas, Kentucky
Gallup said Tuesday that Arkansas and Kentucky have seen their rates of uninsured people fall the most since the healthcare law was implemented. The rate of uninsured in Arkansas dropped from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent this year according to Gallup. Similarly, the rate of uninsured fell from 20.4 percent to 11.9 percent in Kentucky. The statistics are significant since Arkansas and Kentucky are home to two of the hottest Senate races in the country and could help determine which party controls the upper chamber next year (Al-Faruque, 8/5).

The Fiscal Times: Uninsured Dropped Fastest in Senate Battleground States
The president’s healthcare law is about to make things on the campaign trail a little more interesting.That’s because a new Gallup poll shows that Obamacare is significantly cutting the uninsured rate in states with hotly contested Senate races where Republicans have campaigned using a strict anti-Obamacare strategy. In Kentucky, for example, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has routinely called the health care law a disaster—ACA provisions have carved the state’s uninsured rate down from 20.4 percent to 11.9 percent (Ehley, 8/5).

The Hill: Most Back O-Care Subsidies On Both State and Federal Exchanges
A majority believes ObamaCare subsidies should be legal on both the state and federal exchanges, according to a poll released Tuesday. Fifty-eight percent of registered voters in a Morning Consult survey said all ObamaCare enrollees should be eligible for subsidies to reduce premium costs regardless of whether their insurance plan was bought on exchanges set up by states or the federal government. Only 15 percent thought otherwise (Al-Faruque, 8/5).

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: People Don’t Get The New Obamacare Lawsuits, But They Think All Exchanges Should Provide Subsidies
It's been two weeks since a pair of federal appellate courts issued split rulings on whether Obamacare actually authorizes the 36 states relying on federal-run health insurance exchanges to provide premium subsidies helping low- and middle-income residents purchase coverage. If the legal argument pushed by critics of the law ultimately prevails, it could pretty much up-end the exchanges in states that have deferred responsibility to the federal government (Millman, 8/5).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.