The number of Floridians without health insurance dropped again in 2016, according to figures from the U.S. Census.
In 2016, 12.5 percent of the state’s residents did not have health insurance, compared to 13.3 in 2015. The number of uninsured has dropped steadily in Florida from 20 percent in 2013, a year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.
“We have the Affordable Care Act to thank, in large part, for the important gains in Florida’s rate of insured residents,” Joseph F. Pennisi, director of the Florida Policy Institute said in a release. “This is all the more reason to continue improving on current law.”
The drop in uninsured would be even greater had Florida expanded Medicaid, which is still an option under the health law, Pennisi said. Florida could cover more than 500,000 more residents with Medicaid expansion.
The number of children with insurance in Florida also increased in 2016 from 92.6 in 2015 percent to 93.4 percent. Still, 288,000 children in the state do not have insurance, according to the Florida Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization that analyses policy issues that affect economic opportunity.
Congress will consider whether to renew the Children’s Health Insurance program, or CHIP, by the end of the month.
“All of Florida is focused now on rebuilding in the devastating wake of Hurricane Irma,” Pennisi said. “Having health insurance coverage, especially in a state where a natural disaster can turn your world upside down, is absolutely essential.”
Nationally, the number of people without insurance dropped from 29 million in 2015 to 28.1 million in 2016.
In 2009, nearly 17 percent of the U.S. population had no health insurance. The number of uninsured dropped to 8.8 percent in 2016.