September 13, 2012 – A report released by the U.S. Census Bureau earlier this week showed that the number of uninsured Americans dropped for the first time in three years. From 2010 to 2011, nearly 1.3 million people gained insurance coverage. This is especially remarkable given the weakness of the American economy, when it could otherwise be expected that the percentage of Americans insured would drop due to fewer people receiving coverage through employment. According to the Washington Post (read the full story here), almost 40% of this increase in coverage can be attributed to the provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allows adult children to remain on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.
Despite this nationwide improvement, the census figures also show that Georgia still rates poorly in terms of the number of uninsured. According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (read their full analysis here), nearly 1.9 million Georgians—more than 20% of the state’s population—went without coverage between 2010 and 2011, placing Georgia in the bottom ten of states in terms of the number of insured. Furthermore, adults under age 65 in Georgia were twice as likely to go without coverage as were children, who have the benefit of the PeachCare program. Expansion of the Medicaid program in Georgia as contemplated by the ACA would cover an additional 650,000 adults. The State should seize this opportunity to help working Georgians.