Press "Enter" to skip to content

More Minnesotans Get Health Insurance; ACA Reducing Uninsured Rate

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:

Gallup US uninsured 2014

Climb, climb, climb, fully enact ACA—plummet.

Then look at the Gallup state-by-state uninsured data on which Montgomery bases his report:

Gallup uninsured by state 2014

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.


  1. barry freed 2015.02.26

    The Governor claims that "only" 11,000 South Dakotans are affected by his unilateral and uncontested by either political party, position against the ACA.
    He is currently claiming we are "too poor" to fund the ACA as we have many other needs. Will he sign the 35-0 approved $11 million rebuild of Custer State Park? He might say: the bonds will be paid by the concessionaire. Fair enough.
    Why not give that option to the minimum of 11,000 uninsured to pay less than $20 per month to fund South Dakota's share of the ACA so they could get healthy. The counties would surely pick up the tab for those who don't have the $20, considering what we pay now.

  2. jerry 2015.02.26

    The governor gets by with the claim of "only" 11,000 working poor population in South Dakota because not very many citizens of the state know what the number 11,000 in population means. Daugaard is no dummy but he thinks the rest of us are. I would ask Daugaard if he thinks the elimination of Huron or Vermillion would be a big deal. That is what "only" 11,000 means in perspective of population. It is clear though, that he has no conscience.

  3. Jana 2015.02.26

    The Governor talks often about being a good steward. Apparently that only applies to money and not people, or roads, or education, or...

    Of course a good steward of money would also recognize that the uninsured are a shadow tax on everyone else and hurt our healthcare systems.

  4. Jenny 2015.02.26

    Those darn liberals just care about people too much when they're out of the womb. Minnesotans are just better people than the ammosexuals that run SD.

  5. Jenny 2015.02.26

    Cheer up sane South Dakotans that have to put up with their ammosexual state govt There are crazier ammosexuals in Don't Mess With TX where they are denying healthcare to 27% of their own. 27% of Texans have no health insurance in the richest country in the world!!! Ammo Pubs are ruthless.

  6. Jenny 2015.02.26

    Okay, it's 24.4% of Texans that have no health insurance down from 27%.

  7. Jana 2015.02.26

    Keep in mind that the Republicans have done a good job of demonizing the ACA or for effect, know, named after that Kenyan born Muslim dark skinned socialist. Yep, the same guy that has overseen the stock market hitting record levels, corporate profits through the roof and had to overcome the disaster that his predecessor left him.

    When the components of the ACA are itemized, people are all for them.

  8. Erik 2015.02.26

    As the ACA continues to work and the fight against KXL continues on, I'd love to see you update us on Rounds' Senate campaign pledges, like ending Obama Care and Building the KXL Pipeline. Shows us the work he is doing to meet the pledges he made to the folks that voted him in... and see just how much he really accomplishes.

  9. leslie 2015.02.26

    barry, don't be daft.

    "unilateral and uncontested by either political party" is as clear a mistake in commenting about the democrat party as any i have ever, ever heard here. 30-90 uninsured people in SD as a result of duagaard's unprincipled, un-scientific, immoral and unprofessional SDGOP resistance to MEDICAID EXPANSION have, and will die[d] annually, unnecessarily, it is estimated.

    this kind of GOP politicing stripped 15 MILLION CITIZENS of health care after the 2012 supreme court case, and threatens another 5 MILLION CITIZENS from current subsidized health care in its up coming case.

  10. Anne Beal 2015.02.26

    Stop calling Medicaid "insurance."
    If it worked like insurance it wouldn't be rejected by so many health care providers.
    People on Medicaid are often in the position of having no where to go except hospital
    Emergency departments. People on Medicaid are 3x as likely as people with insurance to use hospital EDs and 2x as likely as other uninsured people.
    Medicaid drives hospital ED use. The patients have no where else to go.

  11. larry kurtz 2015.02.26

    Anne is an unreliable witness. United Health Care is Medicaid's insurer in New Mexico: the docs and hospitals love it.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2015.02.26

    Medicaid is insurance. For a calculated low premium, users get health coverage. It works just like other private plans that don't do me any good across network borders. Medicaid is better insurance than what low-income folks have otherwise, which is probably nothing.

    Medicaid patients also use the emergency room because it's cheaper:

    Those darn poor people: saving themselves and Medicaid money.

  13. SuperSweet 2015.02.26

    If the Supreme Court rules against ACA what will the Republicans propose as the alternative? Go back to the way it was and leave 11 million uninsured?

  14. jerry 2015.02.26

    Speaking of the Keystone, the eminent domain just got shut down in Nebraska. It will take the Supreme Court for the state, at least 18 months to hear the case. A Victory for our mother earth.

    When the hospitals go broke, then Daugaard will listen.

  15. Jana 2015.02.26

    Super, the GOP doesn't have a plan. They obviously don't have a clue as to what their actions to eliminate the ACA would do to the market either.

    "The lawsuit has enormous stakes for the estimated 10 million people who would lose their health coverage if the court decides against Obama. The exit of that many people from the insurance markets in their states also would destabilize the markets, leading to big price increases that would drive more individuals away from health coverage. People living in 14 mainly Democratic states that established health insurance exchanges would be unaffected."

  16. Feeling Blue in a Red State 2015.02.27

    Also consider that medicaid has a considerable number of folks living with high cost chronic conditions, that by the nature of the condition being chronic, results in increased medical visits. Other disparities including lack of transportation, nutritional foods, lack of affordable childcare, and in home care lead to individuals using the ED as opposed to getting in to see their doctor on a regular basis. Addressing disparities, and providing excellent primary care help reduce more expensive ED, hospital stays, rehab stays, and assisted living.

  17. jerry 2015.02.27

    A bright spot in our economy is that Daugaard is no longer a banker. I find it difficult to imagine dealing with him as a businessman, in that regard, he is a dummy.

Comments are closed.