What We're Reading: Obamacare, Not Economy, Drove Insurance Coverage Gains

What we're reading, March 22, 2016: the reduction of the uninsured rate was driven mostly by the Affordable Care Act, not economic recovery; heart disease rates dropped; and participation in meaningful use program declines.

Gains in the number of Americans with health insurance is mostly a result of the Affordable Care Act, not the recovering economy, new evidence shows. Government surveys have found that while the uninsured rate has dropped to 9%, there has been a lackluster rebound in employer-based covered, reported AP. The news may make some Republicans hesitant about discussing repealing the law, but others note that Obamacare could still be replaced with a different approach that does not restrict access to care or increase the amount of uninsured Americans.

While heart disease rates have declined in the US, there are large regional variations when it comes to progress. According to Reuters, the region with the highest rates of heart disease is no longer the Northeast—the South now claims the title. Although every 3000 counties of the 48 continuous states all saw a decline in heart disease deaths—the average decline across the US was 61%—heart disease still remains the leading cause of death in the US.

Participation in the meaningful use program has declined despite changes to the program. From 2014 to 2015 more than 100 hospitals dropped out of the incentive program and provider participation fell by more than 2000, reported Bloomberg BNA. Last year, CMS had even published new rules to ease the program’s requirements, but it may be CMS’ frequent and late-stage changes to the program that has frustrated some participants.