The U.S. uninsured rate fell to a record low of 8 percent in the first quarter of 2022, according to a new report from the Biden administration.
President Biden touted the number on Tuesday, saying it showed the success of his efforts to build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“This progress did not happen by accident,” Biden said in a statement. “More than 35 million Americans are enrolled in Affordable Care Act related coverage – the highest total on record.”
The American Rescue Plan that Biden signed in early 2021 included increased financial assistance to help ACA enrollees afford their premiums.
Experts also point to a provision put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented most people from being disenrolled from Medicaid as helping boost the rates of insured people. That freeze will end whenever the Biden administration ends the public health emergency for COVID-19.
The report released Tuesday from the Department of Health and Human Services finds that 5.2 million people gained health coverage since 2020.
However, there were still 26.4 million uninsured people at the start of 2022, the report found. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and other progressives have pointed to the millions who remain uninsured as fuel to call for “Medicare for All.”
Biden noted Tuesday that the sweeping health and climate package now moving through the Senate, called the Inflation Reduction Act, would extend the enhanced ACA financial assistance for another three years.
“When I ran for office, I said we needed to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said. “The Inflation Reduction Act will do just that – it will lock in an average $800 a year savings in health insurance premiums for 13 million Americans and prevent 3 million Americans from becoming uninsured.”
The uninsured rate hovered for years around 15 percent, before the largest declines were driven by the ACA initially going into effect in 2014.