Census Data Shows Uninsured Rate Dropped To 5.7 Percent Last Year
By Shamane Mills
Wisconsin’s uninsured rate continues to go down. The U.S. Census Bureau reported the state’s uninsured rate last year dropped to 5.7 percent, meaning 323,000 Wisconsin residents went without health coverage in 2015.
That number has steadily dropped since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010. In 2014, the uninsured rate was 7.3 percent, and in 2013 the rate was 9.1 percent.
“It shows that the federal health care reform law has been extremely effective in reducing the number of people who are uninsured, both nationally and here in Wisconsin,” said Jon Peacock, research director at the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.
The state’s improved coverage rate falls short of Gov. Scott Walker’s goals when he announced reforms to Medicaid. Walker predicted the state would cut the number of uninsured in half by shifting thousands of BadgerCare recipients to the private marketplace.
In a statement, Walker called the census report “welcome news” and noted Wisconsin tied with Rhode Island for sixth best in the nation for health coverage. Democrats and health advocacy groups say the state could improve insurance rates even further by accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid.
Walker and other Republican governors refused to do so, saying savings now could lead to greater costs later.
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