+

Do you currently have health insurance? Now, more than ever, the answer is likely to be "yes."

Gallup recently released its quarterly Well-Being Index numbers, and when it comes to insurance, the numbers are looking better than ever.


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law more than five years ago, and, to put it generously, it's still controversial.

The law has faced (and survived) two Supreme Court challenges. Members of Congress have voted to defund and/or repeal the law more than 50 times. And it remains one of those topics that's probably best not to bring up at the Thanksgiving Day dinner table.



The road here has been a wild one. It must also have been a gold mine for people who make poster boards and markers. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

But let's sidestep the rhetoric for a bit and look at the results.

It certainly seems like the ACA is here to stay, especially after it was upheld again just a few weeks ago. So it's worth seeing if the Act is, you know, actually helping people.

In late 2013, just before one of the key provisions of the law was to take effect, there were more uninsured Americans than ever before.

In the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index for the fourth quarter of 2013, 17.1% of U.S. adults surveyed had no form of health insurance.

So in 2014, when the key provisions of the law kicked into full effect, it seemed like the moment of truth was finally here. Finally, we'd have the answer to one of the key questions of President Obama's presidency: Will this law actually reduce the number of uninsured Americans?

Now there's good news. Ever since 2014, Gallup has observed a downward trend in uninsured rates.

By the end of the first quarter of 2014, rates dropped below 17%; by the second quarter of 2014, only 15.6% of Americans were without insurance. And by the end of 2015's first quarter, the rate of uninsured Americans was at 11.9%.

Then came the latest numbers, released just after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of key provisions in the law for the second time: 11.4% of Americans are now uninsured, a new record low.

That means that 88.6% of Americans have health insurance coverage now, which is an incredible increase.


The new uninsured rates are pretty impressive. Thanks, Obama. Image via Thinkstock.

Even better, the most improvements were seen in groups with historically high uninsured rates: low-income individuals and people of color.

Between the end of 2013 and the second quarter of 2015, Gallup shows, the uninsured rate for black Americans dropped from 20.9% to 12%; Hispanic people saw their rate drop from 38.7% to 29.1%.

On the whole, uninsured numbers decreased across all ages, races, and income levels.

And with that, the question of whether or not the ACA is helping those most in need has been answered, and it's a resounding "yes."

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Image.

By making health care more accessible, we're also seeing major on-the-ground improvements.

Those big numbers are one thing. But the millions of people who have seen their insurance situations improve during the past few years are the evidence of true improvements.

They're people like freelancer Andrew Stryker, who told the Washington Post that the ACA helped cut his premiums in half.

And they're people like this employee, who commented on Addicting Info about the struggle to afford insurance on their own.

"I lost my job in 2013 and was offered COBRA at $450 plus per month which I cannot afford on unemployment. I have epilepsy, a pre-existing condition, and was rejected when I shopped for private insurance. Thankfully, the ACA took effect and I now have affordable insurance with the cost based on my low income on unemployment. Without the ACA, I would be left without health insurance leaving me vulnerable to losing the home I worked to pay for over the last 30 years. ... The [ACA] is the best thing that happened to the American people in a very long time. Unfortunately, too many of them don't know it yet, but they will over time."

Politics aside, we're learning an important lesson.

Lives have been changed for the better as a result of expanded insurance access. Let's keep focusing on that priority.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

Honorees, speakers and guests on stage at We the Peoples

True

Some people say that while change is inevitable, progress is a choice. In other words, it’s a purposeful act—like when American media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner established the United Nations Foundation 25 years ago.

Keep ReadingShow less

Chris Hemsworth and daughter.

This article originally appeared on 08.27.18


In addition to being the star of Marvel franchise "Thor," actor Chris Hemsworth is also a father-of-three? And it turns out, he's pretty much the coolest dad ever.

In a clip from a 2015 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Hemsworth shared an interesting conversation he had with his 4-year-old daughter India.

Keep ReadingShow less
True

Innovation is awesome, right? I mean, it gave us the internet!

However, there is always a price to pay for modernization, and in this case, it’s in the form of digital eye strain, a group of vision problems that can pop up after as little as two hours of looking at a screen. Some of the symptoms are tired and/or dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain1. Ouch!

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

A 92-year-old World War II fighter pilot flies her plane for the first time in 70 years.

"It's the closest thing to having wings of your own and flying that I've known."

Photo pulled from BBC YouTube video

World War II vet flys again.

This article originally appeared on 05.19.15


More than 70 years after the war, a 92-year-old World War II veteran took to the sky once again.

It's been decades since her last flight, but Joy Lofthouse, a 92-year-old Air Transport Auxiliary veteran, was given the chance to board a Spitfire airplane for one more trip.


Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 08.20.21


Sometimes you see something so mind-boggling you have to take a minute to digest what just happened in your brain. Be prepared to take that moment while watching these videos.

Real estate investor and TikTok user Tom Cruz shared two videos explaining the spreadsheets he and his friends use to plan vacations and it's...well...something. Watch the first one:

So "Broke Bobby" makes $125,000 a year. There's that.

How about the fact that his guy has more than zero friends who budget $80,000 for a 3-day getaway? Y'all. I wouldn't know how to spend $80,000 in three days if you paid me to. Especially if we're talking about a trip with friends where we're all splitting the cost. Like what does this even look like? Are they flying in private jets that burn dollar bills as fuel? Are they bathing in hot tubs full of cocaine? I genuinely don't get it.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Someone asked strangers online to share life's essential lessons. Here are the 17 best.

There's a bit of advice here for everyone—from financial wisdom to mental health tips.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Failure is a great teacher.

It’s true that life never gets easier, and we only get continuously better at our lives. Childhood’s lessons are simple—this is how you color in the lines, 2 + 2 = 4, brush your teeth twice a day, etc. As we get older, lessons keep coming, and though they might still remain simple in their message, truly understanding them can be difficult. Often we learn the hard way.

The good news is, the “hard way” is indeed a great teacher. Learning the hard way often involves struggle, mistakes and failure. While these feelings are undeniably uncomfortable, being patient and persistent enough to move through them often leaves us not only wiser in having gained the lesson, but more confident, assured and emotionally resilient. If that’s not growth, I don’t know what is.

Keep ReadingShow less