More New Yorkers covered by health insurance: report

| New York Post

The number of New York state residents lacking health insurance has dropped for the eighth consecutive year — bucking a national trend, according to new census data.

The share of New Yorkers without medical coverage last year was 5.4%, down from 5.7% in 2017. The number of uninsured New Yorkers dropped by about 72,000, to just over 1 million.

The rate of uninsured is now half what it was in 2013, the year before the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, went into effect.

An analysis by Bill Hammond of The Empire Center for Public Policy said the continued drop bolsters the case against the Albany Legislature passing a new law imposing a state government-run health insurance, which Democratic candidates for president are pushing for on a national level.

“Current trends suggest the state could achieve universal coverage through relatively modest expansions of its existing efforts,” Hammond said.

“We are closer than ever in history to getting close to universal health care. It doesn’t make sense to blow up the whole system to cover the last 5%,” he said in subsequent interview.

The uninsured rate nationally rose to 8.9% last year from 8.7% in 2017, census figures show.

New York was one of the most aggressive states in leveraging federal funds through Obamacare to increase the number of residents eligible for public health insurance programs — particularly Medicaid, the program covering the needy. The state’s $79 billion Medicaid program covers about one in three residents, among the most extensive and expensive in the country.

In addition, the Empire analysis noted New York is one of only two states that offer taxpayer-subsidized coverage for people whose incomes are just above the Medicaid eligibility level. About 790,000 residents are enrolled in the Essential Plan, which has premiums of no more than $20 a month.

New York had the ninth lowest rate of uninsured residents, and was one of 15 states whose rates declined and one of only three that dropped significantly, according to the Empire analysis.

© 2019 New York Post