Washington (AP) — The number of people living in America without health insurance coverage hit an all-time low of 8 percent this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday.
“Every American has the right to the peace of mind that comes with access to affordable, quality health care,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Tuesday about the record-low rate of uninsured Americans.
The findings come days after Democrats hammered out a 725-page climate, health care and tax deal that would extend generous federal subsidies for people who buy private health insurance that are credited with driving down the uninsured rates. Democrats have proposed spending $64 billion to extend those price breaks for three more years.
The drop in uninsured Americans began last year, when Congress and Biden signed off on a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that lowered premiums and out-of-pocket costs for new or returning customers purchasing plans through the Affordable Care Act’s private health insurance markets.
The uninsured rate fell to just under 9 percent last year with the improved subsidies. The Biden administration also began to step up advertising and increased the number of counselors who helped sign up people for plans during the open enrollment season last year.
Prior to last year, the uninsured rate had consistently remained in the double digits for decades. The number of uninsured Americans began dropping after the ACA, which expanded Medicaid and offers health insurance to people who lack job-based coverage through a mix of subsidized private plans, was enacted in 2010.
Roughly 26 million people remain without health insurance in the U.S. Just under 2 percent of children are now uninsured.
“We know that access to quality, affordable health care is key to healthier lives, economic security, and peace of mind,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement Tuesday.
Amanda Seitz, The Associated Press