July 17, 2017 / Modified jul 17, 2017 1:51 p.m.

Report: Rate of Native American Uninsured Fell Under Obamacare

Still, the uninsured rate remains high and will rise if Medicaid is cut, an author of the study said.

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Uninsured rates for Native Americans have declined significantly in Arizona and the country as a whole since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, according to a report from Georgetown University.

In 2008, before Medicaid was expanded under Obamacare, 33 percent of Native American children in Arizona were uninsured. That dropped to 19 percent.

"Now, that’s still too high, but it’s certainly a very strong improvement," said Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families.

Over that same period, the percentage of Native American children who get insurance through the state's Medicaid Program (known as AHCCCS) increased from 46 percent to 56 percent.

For adult Native Americans, the uninsured rate fell from 42 percent in 2008 to 29 percent in 2015.

Alker said those rates, too, remain high.

"And they will likely rise if substantial cuts are made to the Medicaid program."

Members of the House of Representatives passed a health bill that would roll back Medicaid funding, and senators are considering a similar measure.

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