• States that moved forward with the law’s Medicaid expansion saw a bigger decline in the share of their residents uninsured.
The number of uninsured U.S. residents fell by more than 11 million since President Barack Obama signed the health care overhaul five years ago, according to a pair of reports Tuesday from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Although that still would leave about 37 million people uninsured, it’s the lowest level measured in more than 15 years.
The most dramatic change took place in comparing 2013 with the first nine months of 2014, as the health care law’s major coverage expansion was taking effect. The number of uninsured people fell by 7.6 million over that time.
That’s “much bigger than can possibly be explained by the economy,” said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “The vast majority has to be due to the Affordable Care Act.”
Monday was the law’s fifth anniversary, and supporters and detractors again clashed over its impact.
Obama says the law in many ways is “working even better than anticipated.”
House Speaker John Boehner says it amounts to a “legacy of broken promises.”
The health care law offers subsidized private coverage to people who don’t have access to it on the job, as well as an expanded version of Medicaid geared to low-income adults, in states accepting it.
The White House says 16 million people have gained health insurance, a considerably higher estimate than Tuesday’s findings from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.
The figures cited by the White House cover a longer period of time, through the beginning of this month. That includes the law’s second sign-up season. The estimate was produced by the principal policy adviser to Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell.