By | Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
WASHINGTON (AP) — Here’s a reality check for President Barack Obama’s health overhaul: Three out of four uninsured Americans live in states that have yet to figure out how to deliver on its promise of affordable medical care.
This is the year that will make or break the health care law. States were supposed to be partners in carrying out the biggest safety net expansion since Medicare and Medicaid, and the White House claims they’re making steady progress.
But an analysis by The Associated Press shows that states are moving in fits and starts. Combined with new insurance coverage estimates from the nonpartisan Urban Institute, it reveals a patchwork nation.
Such uneven progress could have real consequences.
If it continues, it will mean disparities and delays from state to state in carrying out an immense expansion of health insurance scheduled in the law for 2014. That could happen even if the Supreme Court upholds Obama’s law, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“There will be something there, but if it doesn’t mesh with the state’s culture and if the state is not really supporting it, that certainly won’t help it succeed,” said Urban Institute senior researcher Matthew Buettgens.
The 13 states that have adopted a plan are home to only 1 in 4 of the uninsured. An additional 17 states are making headway, but it’s not clear all will succeed. The 20 states lagging behind account for the biggest share of the uninsured, 42 percent.
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