Since Obamacare took effect, many more children in the United States have gotten health insurance, according to a new analysis. In 2008, 9 percent of kids under the age of 18 in America — that’s 6.9 million children — didn’t have health insurance. By 2015, that number had fallen to 3.5 million children, or 5 percent of the country’s kids. Children from families just above poverty level tended to see the biggest gains, but children of all income levels saw improvement recently.
The provisions of Obamacare were mostly designed to help low-income adults—not kids—get health insurance. Children were already covered by Medicaid and by the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which was established in 1997. But the Affordable Care Act may still have helped cover some kids, one of the analysis’ authors, public-policy researcher Joan Alker of Georgetown University wrote last year. Some children may have benefited from a marketplace plan. Others might have gotten insurance because the act lowered the premiums low-income parents in some states had to pay to cover their older kids.
The numbers come at a time when the Affordable Care Act is suffering from rising costs and from major insurers pulling out of the individual marketplace. Hillary Clinton has proposed changes to the law, while Donald Trump has promised to repeal it altogether. What these changes will mean for the coverage rates for kids remains to be seen.