The proportion of Americans without health insurance grew significantly last year for the first time this decade, according to new federal figures that show the number of people lacking coverage rose to 27.5 million.
The findings released Tuesday, based on a large U.S. Census Bureau survey measuring Americans’ well-being, reverse the trend that began when the Affordable Care Act expanded opportunities for poor and some middle-income people to get affordable coverage.
With health care already a central issue in the 2020 presidential campaigns and a prime voter concern, the fresh evidence that insurance is slipping further out of Americans’ reach can be expected to escalate partisan warring on the subject.
The uninsured rate rose, as well, in 2018, marking the first time since 2009 that both the number and rate of uninsurance rose from the year before. The change was driven primarily by a decrease in public insurance for the poor, with enrollment in Medicaid dropping by 0.7 percent, the data show.