When congressional candidates last hit the campaign trail in 2014, one word seemed to be at the top of the agenda for virtually every Republican: Obamacare. But that was before most of the law’s provisions took effect. Two years later, the health law seems to have faded as a campaign issue.
New data released this month might give a hint as to why: The uninsured rate — the share of the population without health insurance — dropped in every congressional district in the country between 2013 and 2015, according to the American Community Survey.
Obamacare’s troubles are far from over. Recent months have brought a spate of headlines about big insurers pulling out of the law’s health insurance marketplaces, and (somewhat misleadingly) about soaring insurance premiums. The law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, remains as polarizing as ever: Two-thirds of Democrats say they have a favorable view of the law, and 76 percent of Republicans view it unfavorably, according to an August poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which researches health care policy.
But on one metric, at least, the law seems to be working: More people are getting coverage. According to other Census Bureau data released last week, 4 million people gained insurance last year. About 29 million Americans still don’t have insurance, 13 million fewer than before the law took effect.
The biggest improvements in the uninsured rate came in California, a state that fervently embraced the controversial law. About a third of the state’s residents are now enrolled in California’s Medicaid program, and 1.38 million people are enrolled in private insurance through the state’s health insurance marketplace after a multimillion-dollar campaign to promote it. (Check out the table at the end of this article to …