David Montgomery left South Dakota last December for a better job in the Twin Cities. He now gets to report on Gallup numbers showing Minnesota's better rate of uninsured people:
At the beginning of 2014, just 9.5 percent of Minnesotans lacked health insurance, the fourth-best rate in the country. As of the start of 2015, that uninsured rate is now 7.4 percent, 2.1 percentage points lower.
...A previous study, conducted between September 2013 and May 2014 by University of Minnesota researchers, also showed a drop in Minnesota's uninsured rate. It used a different methodology and found the uninsured rate falling from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent [David Montgomery, "Minnesota's Uninsured Rate Falls, Says Survey," Pioneer Press, 2015.02.24].
The uninsured rate in South Dakota dropped from 14.0% to 12.7%. Minnesota embraced the Affordable Care Act by implementing their MNSure state health insurance exchange and expanding Medicaid. South Dakota has taken neither action.
Montgomery posits no causation, but Minnesota's Democratic leaders want to give the ACA and MNSure the credit. Those DFL legislators are probably right. Take a look at this graph from Gallup showing the nationwide uninsured rate:
Climb, climb, climb, fully enact ACA—plummet.
Then look at the Gallup state-by-state uninsured data on which Montgomery bases his report:
The uninsured rate went down everywhere in 2014, but the statisticians at Gallup don't hesitate to name the spade that's filling this hole faster:
While a majority of Americans continue to disapprove of the Affordable Care Act, it has clearly had an impact in reducing the uninsured rate in the U.S., which declined to its lowest point in seven years by the last quarter of 2014. This trend could be poised to continue, as 55% of Americans who remain uninsured plan to get health insurance rather than pay a fine.
States that have implemented two of the law's core mechanisms -- Medicaid expansion and state health exchanges -- are seeing a substantially larger drop in the uninsured rate than states that did not take both of these actions. Consequently, the gap in uninsured rates that existed between these two groups in 2013 nearly doubled in 2014 [Dan Witters, "Arkansas, Kentucky See Most Improvement in Uninsured Rates," Gallup, 2015.02].
The ACA is working. South Dakota should get over its Obamaphobia and help the ACA work.