Nearly 9 million people gained insurance last year, a win for “Obamacare” as the president’s signature health care law expanded Medicaid and opened health insurance exchanges. And yet, 33 million Americans, 10.4 percent of the U.S. population, still went without health insurance for the entirety of 2014. Millions more were uninsured for at least part of the year.1 New data released this month shows they were disproportionately poor, black and Hispanic; 4.5 million of them were children.
It isn’t a surprise that some Americans still don’t have health insurance. Despite aiming to insure “everybody” in the U.S., the Affordable Care Act (ACA) left significant gaps in coverage, and decisions made by the law’s opponents have denied benefits to millions of people it was designed to help. But the new numbers reveal that most of the uninsured last year were people who should have been able to access insurance under the law. That presents a major challenge for President Obama in the final years of his term, but also an opportunity: Millions of Americans qualify for coverage but, for whatever combination of reasons, haven’t yet signed up.