Skip to main content

Meet the 19.2 Million Who Gained Health Insurance Under the ACA

Analysis  |  By John Commins  
   January 04, 2017

As Republicans in Congress prepare to make good on their promise to repeal Obamacare, new data provides a snapshot of the nearly 20 million people who gained health insurance under the landmark legislation.

Sometimes, numbers speak louder than words.

A report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute provides a granular look at the 19.2 million people who've gained health insurance coverage from 2010-2015 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

For all its warts and pimples, Obamacare has reduced the number of uninsured Americans to historic lows, even in the 21 states that refused to expand their Medicaid programs, and which often did little or nothing to support health insurance marketplaces selling commercial plans within their jurisdictions.

The Urban Institute census comes just as a Republican-controlled Congress is preparing to repeal the ACA and replace it with some vaguely worded alternative that will take effect at some as-yet undetermined date.

The timing is not by accident.

"This is something that we began after the elections," says Anuj Gangopadhyaya, a research associate at the Urban Institute and a co-author of the study.

"We thought this would be a great moment to re-assess and talk about where the ACA coverage gains have been realized throughout this country. There isn't any spinning going here. These are the numbers. We just wanted to lay them out and see what the data tells us, and the data speaks for itself."

Before Obamacare is repealed, let's look at some of the key findings taken from the Urban Institute study:

  • An estimated 19.2 million nonelderly people gained health insurance coverage from 2010 to 2015.
  • Coverage gains were broad-based; the number of uninsured fell substantially among all Americans under age 65, for both men and women, and across subgroups based on race/ethnicity, levels of educational attainment, and states.


  • 1

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.