a new paper shows one place where the law has been a clear success: narrowing the race gap in health insurance. So why aren’t more Democrats shouting that from the rooftops. In 2013, the year before most of the law’s provisions for subsidized insurance took effect, non-elderly blacks were 47 percent more likely than whites to be uninsured.
For American Indians, that figure was 93 percent; for Hispanics, 120 percent. In 2014, not only did the share of whites without insurance fall; the share of blacks and Asian Americans fell by more. The difference between whites and Hispanics shrank, from 14 percentage points to 11.8 percentage points. What’s odd about the race gap isn’t its persistence, but that its narrowing isn’t more celebrated as one of the law’s accomplishments. Narrowing the race gap in health insurance counts unequivocally as progress.
Underlining a change across the nation, nearly 9 out of 10 adults now say they have health insurance, according to an extensive survey released Monday. As recently as 2013, slightly more than 8 out of 10 had coverage. The Gallup-Healthways survey found that the share of adults who lack insurance dropped to 11.9 percent for the first three months of this year, the lowest level since that survey began its tracking in 2008. The latest update overlaps with the period when the health law’s second sign-up season was winding down. Coverage gains from 2014-2015 translate to about 3.6 million fewer adults uninsured since the fall, before open enrollment got under way, according to Gallup. “The Affordable Care Act had three major objectives: increase coverage, slow the rate of increase in costs, and improve health,” said Dan Witters, research director for the poll.
“The first one is clearly a win. Coverage is increasing; there is no question about it.” On balance, an estimated 14.75 million adults have gained coverage since the fall of 2013, when the law’s first open enrollment season was about to begin, according to Gallup. Hispanics saw the biggest coverage gains of any ethnic or racial group. The uninsured rate dropped 8.3 points among Latinos since the end of 2013. Recent gains in coverage have benefited people up and down the income ladder. But the most notable improvement has been among those making less than $36,000 a year, a group that traditionally struggled to get and keep health insurance. Their uninsured rate dropped 8.7 points since the end of 2013.
Noam Levey: Number Of Latinos With Insurance Coverage Surges Under Healthcare Law
The federal healthcare law has dramatically increased coverage among Latinos, according to a new report that provides a comprehensive look at the effects of the Affordable Care Act on a historically underinsured community. Overall, the percentage of Latinos ages 19 to 64 lacking health coverage fell from 36% to 23% between summer 2013 and spring 2014. That parallels a broader increase in coverage that has taken place since insurance marketplaces opened last fall and states began expanding Medicaid under the healthcare law.
The overall uninsured rate for U.S. adults under 65 plummeted from 20% to 15% in the same period, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit group that studies U.S. and global health systems. Other surveys have shown similar declines. “The Affordable Care Act appears to be working for millions of Latinos who, as a group, have long faced the nation’s highest uninsured rates,” said the Commonwealth Fund’s Michelle Doty, the report’s lead author. “These substantial improvements will mean better health and healthcare for millions of people.” The Medicaid expansion proved particularly important for Latinos, the Commonwealth Fund report indicates. In states that expanded Medicaid, including California, the uninsured rate among working-age Latino adults dropped by about half, from 35% to 17%.
This morning, the Senate confirmed three federal judges. On the one hand, they are not unique; like all of the President’s judges and judicial nominees, they have the necessary intellect, experience, integrity, and temperament. But they are special in that each of them is a trailblazer on their courts:
Judge Darrin Gayles, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, is the first openly gay African American man to be confirmed as a lifetime-appointed federal judge in our nation’s history.
Judge Salvador Mendoza, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, is the first Hispanic judge to serve on his court.
Staci Yandle, confirmed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, is the first African American to serve on her court and the first openly gay lifetime-appointed federal judge in Illinois.
President Obama has now appointed more female judges and more Hispanic judges than any other President: wh.gov/lHujw
Today’s confirmations also set historic milestones: For the first time in history, the Senate has confirmed two openly gay judges on the same day. President Obama has now appointed more female judges than any other President, breaking the record previously set by President Clinton. President Obama also has now appointed more Hispanic judges than any other President, breaking the record previously held by President George W. Bush. As we’ve said before, these “firsts” — and these milestones — are important, not because these judges will consider cases differently, but because a judiciary that better resembles our nation instills even greater confidence in our justice system, and because these judges will serve as role models for generations of lawyers to come. Congratulations to our newest federal judges, who we are confident will serve with honor, distinction, and fidelity to the rule of law.
Washington Post: President Obama holds a wide lead among Hispanic voters when matched against potential Republican challengers, even as widespread opposition to his administration’s stepped-up deportation policies act as a drag on his approval ratings among that group, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center, revealed a general-election weakness for Republicans among an increasingly influential voting bloc — with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry each winning less than one-fourth of the Hispanic vote in hypothetical matchups against Obama.
Obama leads Romney by 68 percent to 23 percent and Perry by 69 percent to 23 percent among Hispanic voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percentage points for the sample.
Bloomberg: Fewer Americans filed applications for unemployment benefits over the past month than at any time in the past three years, a sign the U.S. labor market is on the mend heading into the new year.
The four-week moving average for claims, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, dropped to 375,000 last week, the lowest level since June 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Applications rose for the first time in a month in the week ended Dec. 24, climbing by a more-than- forecast 15,000 to 381,000.
The jump in claims last week may say more about their volatility during this time of year than about the state of the job market …. Their recent decline has stoked speculation the world’s largest economy was on the cusp of showing bigger gains in employment.
President Obama gestures as he speaks about his basketball injury, caused by Reynaldo Decerega of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, at the Institute’s awards gala in Washington, September 14