A Benchmark for the Success of the Affordable Care Act

Statement by policy analyst Janet Bauer on Census health coverage data.
Today's data release by the U.S. Census Bureau will serve as a benchmark for the success of the Affordable Care Act in confronting one of our state's most pressing social and economic problems: health insurance coverage. Nearly one in seven Oregonians lacked health insurance in 2013, before the most far-reaching provisions of the Act took effect.
 
Oregon -- which last year lagged most states in the share of people without health insurance -- seized opportunities offered by the new law. This year, Oregon expanded its Medicaid program, the Oregon Health Plan, and helped people purchase private insurance.
 
We will have to wait for Census estimates released next year to see the impact of these efforts on lowering Oregon's uninsured rate. Oregon's enrollment figures so far this year, though, make clear that the Affordable Care Act is already making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of Oregonians.
 
For now, the numbers released today show the coverage challenge we faced. They confirm the need for Oregon to continue to implement the Act and pursue our own state efforts to extend quality health care to everyone.
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