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UMN expert: Expanding access to health care coverage critical to reducing a state’s uninsurance rate

According to a recent New York Times article, the majority of people who remain uninsured after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented in the United States live in the South and Southwest and they tend to be poor.

But why is this the case?

Health Talk spoke with Brett Fried, a senior research fellow at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), to learn more about why there are such glaring differences in uninsurance rates across the United States.

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What are the implications of King vs. Burwell?

Note: This post was written by Jean Abraham, Ph.D., and Lynn Blewett, Ph.D.

On March 4, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of King vs. Burwell. The Supreme Court’s decision on this case will have significant implications for the capacity of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to reduce the number of uninsured persons in the United States. In this brief we provide an overview of the potential impact of this case on the implementation of the ACA.

Background: The ACA’s Coverage Expansion Mechanisms

The ACA expanded access to health insurance coverage through two primary mechanisms. The first mechanism is an expansion of the Medicaid program through the extension of eligibility to individuals with modified adjusted gross income up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (approximately $33,465 for a family of four). The primary beneficiaries of this expansion are low-income childless adults, as Medicaid eligibility for adults historically has been tied to parental status except at the lowest income levels. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could choose whether or not to expand Medicaid, and 30 states, including the District of Columbia, have done so to date.

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Research Snapshot: Media coverage of Affordable Care Act implementation varied by region

The legend of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox came to life in Minnesota last year, with MNsure advertisements featuring the mythical duo in a campaign titled, “The Land of 10,000 Reasons to get Health Insurance.”

Nine million dollars were spent on the Minnesota advertisements, which popped up on every medium from billboards to television. While some parts of the country experienced advertising and media coverage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) taking effect similar to Minnesota’s, other regions of the United States saw much more or much less coverage according to new research led by Sarah Gollust, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

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University of Minnesota research finds ACA insurance expansions reduce health care spending burdens for young adults

A new study published today in the August issue of the journal Health Affairs by Ezra Golberstein, Ph.D., professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, in collaboration with Susan Busch, Ph.D., of Yale University and Ellen Meara, Ph.D., of Dartmouth College, found the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) provision allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they turn 26, was associated with significant reductions in the likelihood that young adults had to pay high out-of-pocket costs for health care.

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Number of uninsured Minnesotans falls by 40 percent, U of M report finds

The number of Minnesotans without health insurance fell by 40.6 percent between September 30, 2013 and May 1, 2014, according to a new report prepared by State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota.

The complete report is available on the SHADAC website.

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U of M study: U.S. rates of uninsured kids on the decline

A new report compiled by the University of Minnesota’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) shows the percentage of U.S. children who lack health insurance fell to 7.5 percent in 2012, the most recent year of data available. The percentage of uninsured children nationwide dropped from 9.7 percent in 2008.

The report also shows significant gains in coverage among children who historically have been most likely to be uninsured —including non-white and Hispanic children and kids in low-income families.

The report was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and appears on the SHADAC site.

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