This week we mentioned the amazing new numbers from Kentucky’s Department of Medicaid Services on what the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid has meant for the state. Perhaps the most notable piece of information is the county-by-county map of how the uninsured rate has plummeted, especially in eastern Kentucky. On the House floor on Wednesday, Congressman John Yarmuth made sure to show this map to all of his Republican colleagues who want to repeal the law and most of those Kentuckians’ coverage:
While it is true that these estimates in the map show that the uninsured rate has gone down in every Kentucky county, if you break down the numbers that the Beshear administration used, it becomes apparent that the entire Appalachian region of the state easily benefited from health care reform more than any other.
LEO constructed the map below by using the same figures that the Beshear administration used for their estimates, comparing insurance coverage in Kentucky from 2012 (from the U.S. Census’ Small Area Health Insurance Estimates) to the new figures estimated in 2014 (calculated using Kynect enrollment numbers from the April signup deadline, and estimating that 75 percent of those gaining coverage were previously uninsured, as they indicated when signing up) in order to find out how much the uninsured rate dropped in each county:
Right there in the heart of anti-Obama coal country, Kentucky saw it’s most dramatic double-digit drops in the percentage of uninsured citizens. There is no other region in Kentucky that benefited more from Obamacare, where you see counties going from 17 percent uninsured to less than 5 percent. This is also the region where President Obama’s approval rating is the likely the lowest, where the mythology of Obama’s “War on Coal” being their singular boogeyman remains virtually unchallenged.
Remember, these figures remain an estimate, as the 75 percent figure surely varies from county to county, along with demographic shifts over the last two years. Additionally, the number of people who actually lost their insurance — and did not just receive a scary letter from their insurance company in the mail — is likely small, but not totally insignificant. But for the most part, these numbers should be extremely close to the reality on the ground.
Now, if there was just a candidate in a very important and high profile race in Kentucky to rally voters around keeping this health care reform in place so that all of this progress doesn’t make a U-turn back to the old pre-ACA days…
If you hear of such a candidate making an effort to highlight this on the campaign trail, please let us know.
***** UPDATE *****