The number of Americans without health insurance edged up in 2018—the first evidence from the government that coverage gains from President Obama's health care plan might be eroding under President Trump, the AP reports. The Census Bureau also said in an annual report Tuesday that household income rose last year at its slowest pace in four years but finally matched its previous peak set in 1999. Median household income rose 0.9% in 2018 to an inflation-adjusted $63,179, from $62,626 in 2017. The data suggest that the economic expansion, now the longest on record at more than 10 years, is still struggling to provide widespread benefits to the US population. Solid gains in household incomes in the past four years have returned the median only to where it was two decades ago.
An estimated 27.5 million people, 8.5% of the population, went without health insurance in 2018. That was an increase of 1.9 million uninsured people, or 0.5 percentage point. More people were covered by Medicare, reflecting the aging of the baby boomers. But Medicaid coverage declined. The number of uninsured children also rose, and there were more uninsured adults ages 35-64. Though the increase in the number of uninsured Americans last year was modest, it could be a turning point, the first real sign that coverage gains under Obama could be at least partly reversed. This year, the number of uninsured could rise again because a previous Republican-led Congress repealed fines under the Affordable Care Act for people who remain uninsured if they can afford coverage. (Click for more, including "one bright spot" from the report.)