More than 1 million Americans have lost health coverage since 2016, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office finds. The CBO estimates that the number of Americans without insurance has risen from 27.5 million in 2016 to 28.9 million in 2018, an increase of 1.4 million Americans going uninsured.
The report follows other studies, all suggesting that America’s uninsured rate is rising under President Trump, whose administration has passed new rules that make it more difficult to enroll in coverage.
Much of that increase is concentrated in the Medicaid program, where the Trump administration has approved new requirements that make it more difficult for low-income Americans to enroll in the program. We also have more concrete evidence that new rules requiring Medicaid enrollees to work have led to lower enrollment in that public program, which is meant to serve low-income Americans. More than 18,000 people there have lost coverage since the Trump administration approved that new rule, which requires Medicaid recipients to work at least 80 hours per month (or participate in other qualifying activities) in order to receive their benefits.
There is evidence that the discussion of repeal may be depressing insurance enrollment. A YouGov poll at the end of 2017 found that 31 percent of Americans believed Republicans had successfully repealed the Affordable Care Act. More recent polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 17 percent of Americans believe the law has been repealed and 14 percent aren’t sure if it’s still standing. With that many Americans believing Obamacare doesn’t exist, it makes sense that you’re seeing lower sign-up rates in both the individual markets and Medicaid.