WV Center on Budget and Policy > Press > News Releases > New U.S. Census Data Shows Affordable Care Act Continuing to Work in West Virginia

New U.S. Census Data Shows Affordable Care Act Continuing to Work in West Virginia

September 12, 2017

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Caitlin Cook, 304-543-4879

(Charleston, WV) – Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau today shows that the Affordable Care Act is continuing to reduce the number of West Virginians without health insurance in 2016.

The data on health insurance coverage showed that 96,000 West Virginians lacked health insurance in 2016, a decrease of 12,000 from 2015.  In 2016, 94.7 percent of West Virginians had health insurance.

West Virginia’s gains in health coverage are due primarily to the Affordable Care Act. Between 2013 and 2016, the share of people without health insurance in the Mountain State declined from 14 percent to 5.3 percent. Under the Affordable Care Act, West Virginia has had the 5th largest decrease in its uninsured rate among the 50 states.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and West Virginia’s decision to expand Medicaid, more people are getting the care they need to go to work, take care of their kids, and be healthy, productive members of society,” said Sean O’Leary, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Interim Executive Director. “The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion have also been vital in helping to stem the disturbing tide of substance abuse and opioid addiction that has plagued West Virginia.”

Efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have, to date, been rejected because they would have:

  • Taken health coverage from tens of millions, including 284,000 West Virginians.
  • Ended Medicaid expansion and sharply cut Medicaid for seniors, people with disabilities and kids.
  • Raised premiums and deductibles for millions of people.
  • Gutted protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Handed out hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy, pharmaceutical companies, insurers and corporations.

Congress should stand firm against any proposals that would reverse the health care gains created by the Affordable Care Act and instead turn to finding bipartisan solutions to strengthen the health care Marketplace.

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