WASHINGTON — The number of Americans without health insurance edged up in 2018 — the first evidence from the government that coverage gains from President Barack Obama’s health care plan might be eroding under President Donald Trump.
Analysts were expecting an erosion of the gains from Obamacare partly because of the Trump administration’s moves to weaken it.
The Census Bureau also said in an annual report Tuesday that household income rose last year at its slowest pace in four years and finally matched its previous peak set in 1999. Median household income rose 0.9% in 2018 to an inflation-adjusted $63,179, from $62,626 in 2017.
The data suggest that the economic expansion, now the longest on record at more than 10 years, is still struggling to provide widespread benefits to the U.S. population. Solid gains in household incomes in the past four years have returned the median only to where it was two decades ago. And despite strong growth last year in the number of Americans working full time and year-round, the number of people with private health insurance remained flat.
One bright spot in the report was that the poverty rate fell for a fourth straight year to 11.8%, its lowest point since 2001. The proportion of households led by women that were poor fell to a record low.
Sign up for the Live Well Nebraska newsletter
Get the latest health headlines and inspiring stories straight to your inbox.
“While any reduction in poverty or increase in income is a step in the right direction, most families have just barely made up the ground lost over the past decade,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the liberal Economic Policy Institute.
An estimated 27.5 million people, 8.5% of the population, went without health insurance in 2018. That was an increase of 1.9 million, or 0.5 percentage points.
More people were covered by Medicare, reflecting the aging of the baby boomers. But Medicaid coverage declined. The number of uninsured children also rose, and there were more uninsured adults ages 35-64.
Though the increase in the number of uninsured Americans last year was modest, it could be a turning point, the first real sign that coverage gains under Obama could be at least partly reversed. This year, the number of uninsured could rise again because a previous Republican-led Congress repealed fines under the Affordable Care Act for people who remain uninsured if they can afford coverage.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday blamed Trump’s “cruel health care sabotage” for the rising number of uninsured people.
Trump unsuccessfully tried to get a Republican Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He now is asking a federal appeals court to overturn it as unconstitutional.
The president also slashed the program’s sign-up season and budget and scaled back funding to help people navigate the enrollment process. Trump also removed a subsidy for insurers, thereby triggering a jump in premiums.
This report includes material from the Los Angeles Times.
1 of 17
Matthew Eledge and husband Elliot Dougherty plan to explain her out-of-the-ordinary birth to their daughter in terms she can understand: that her grandmother furnished the garden where she grew, and that her aunt, Lea Yribe, generously supplied the seeds.
One pothole did a passenger a favor when the ambulance he was in struck it, according to first responders. Gretna firefighters were taking a man suffering chest pain and a high heart rate to the hospital. While en route to Lakeside Hospital, the ambulance hit a pothole. The jolt returned the patient’s heart rate to normal.
Thought to be brain dead, doctors took former Creighton Bluejays play-by-play announcer T. Scott Marr off life support. Before his family settled on a funeral home, they decided to see their dad one more time. When they got there, he was awake and speaking.
Karla Perez was 22 weeks pregnant when she suffered a catastrophic brain bleed and was declared brain dead. Her unborn child was alive, but wouldn't survive delivery. So family and doctors kept her on life support. Angel was born eight weeks later.
Darnisha Ladd never imagined Snapchat would help save her life after she suffered a stroke. But needing a precise timeline of events, doctors and family relied on a post on the phone app and were able to give her a needed medication in time.
Lindsey and Derek Teten's triplets are one in a million. Literally. The Nebraska City couple's three daughters, born in late June 2017, are identical and were conceived without fertility treatments. The girls were the second set of spontaneous triplets born at Methodist Women's Hospital. The first set, also girls, was born in 2015.
What makes Jamey Dougall's health story unusual is his treatment plan. Dougall, who's legally blind, uses a special pair of glasses to see. He's seen his wife Kandice, his two daughters, and now, his favorite college football team — the Huskers.
Doctors diagnosed the paralysis that was creeping up Justin Chenier's legs as Guillain-Barre syndrome. It would become so serious that the Omaha man would nearly lose consciousness while screaming because of the pain. The syndrome was triggered by West Nile virus.
Kenze Messman's been diagnosed with several chronic illnesses. Sometimes her heart rate climbs, seizures send her to the floor and migraines leave her in the dark. And one of the ailments causes the 17-year-old to have allergic reactions to almost everything.
The skin on Sharan Bryson's leg was black from lack of circulation. She felt nothing but a sharp, stabbing pain. The leg was dead, and her best option was amputation. Bryson bounced back and put her hard work to the test by running a 5K.
Chase Tiemann has had numerous surgeries in his young life, including the amputation of his left arm. The Omaha boy has a condition that causes tumors — sometimes benign, sometimes cancerous — to form on his body. To boost his spirits after amputation, the Papillion Fire Department named Chase an honorary firefighter.
Wesley Woods battled heart disease for 20 years. He'd racked up nine heart attacks, multiple surgeries and one heart transplant. He was tired of hospitals. Tired of chest pain. Tired of feeling tired. Woods was lucky — he received a second transplant.
Amber Kudrna wasn't sure she'd be able to have a child of her own. After two kidney transplants, doctors gave the Omaha woman a laundry list of potential pregnancy complications. Kudrna and husband Adam weighed their options and, in September 2018, welcomed a baby boy.
Joe Nolan couldn't take his son James' pain away. But he could find a way to share it. Nolan got a tattoo that arched across his head, just like his son's scar. James was born with a handful of ailments, including one that regularly requires his skull to be reshaped.