Politics

Obamacare is Working, Unless You’re Black

In this March 23, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Public support for Obama’s health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago, even though perceptions of some of the law’s problems have improved slightly, according to a new poll.  With Obama are Marcelas Owens of Seattle, left, and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., right; from top left are Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa., Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., Vice President Joe Biden, Vicki Kennedy, widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., Ryan Smith of Turlock, Calif., Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Md., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., House Majority Whip James Clyburn of S.C., and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In this March 23, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama signs the Affordable Care Act in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

 

(Miami Herald) – A new survey shows that Obamacare has done a fantastic job of reducing the uninsurance rate — for everybody except blacks.

The share of Americans age 19 to 64 without health insurance fell from 20 percent last summer to 15 percent this spring, according to a telephone survey of 4,425 people from the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health-care research group. The number of adults without insurance fell by 9.5 million — a success by any measure, especially considering that we’re still in the early days of exchange enrollment, and about half the states have yet to expand Medicaid.

The drop in uninsurance rates held across almost every demographic group: young and old, male and female, married and unmarried, with children and without. The uninsurance rate for whites fell to 12 percent from 16 percent; for Latinos, it plummeted, to 23 percent from 36 percent. For respondents who reported their race as “mixed” or “other,” the share without insurance was cut almost in half, to 11 percent from 20 percent.

The Commonwealth report doesn’t offer any theories for why that might be, and it’s hard to come up with any that are entirely satisfying. The answer has nothing to do with knowing about the law: Awareness of the Affordable Care Act’s financial assistance was the same for blacks (62 percent) as Latinos (60 percent). And blacks were more likely than Latinos to be aware of the state insurance exchanges.

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