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This post originally appeared on the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education's blog, Raising the Bar.

According to newly released data from the Census, the first year of the Affordable Care Act succeeded in reducing the ranks of the uninsured while having little effect on employer sponsored coverage. California was no exception, and indeed showed the fifth largest drop in uninsurance of any state.

The share of Californians under 65 years of age who were uninsured for the entire year fell by about 5 percentage points from 16.4% in 2013 to 11.4% in 2014, according to the newly released Current Population Survey (CPS) data. This amounts to 3.8 million Californians age 0-64 who remained uninsured throughout 2014, 1.6 million fewer than in 2013.

The major changes in coverage occurred because of the opening of the Covered California health care marketplace, through which 88% of enrollees received federal subsidies, and the expansion of MediCal, California’s Medicaid program. The share of Californians with insurance through an employer for any part of the year remained steady, at about 55% of the non-elderly population.

Fig 1. Percentage point change in coverage rate by coverage type, Californians age 0-64, CPS 2013 to 2014

fig1

Welcome to This Week in Equity Engagement on Twitter (TWEET) for the week of September 14, 2015. This week was highlighted by the U.S. Census Bureau’s release of national and state-level poverty and insurance coverage data. As such, this edition of TWEET features many analyses of this data:

More Americans have health insurance now than any year on record. Check out this great analysis of the Census data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


Here’s another way of looking at how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has reduced uninsurance rates across the country.

Many American cities are experiencing an economic revival, but this rising economic tide is not translating into good jobs, living wages, and ownership opportunities for their low-income communities and communities of color. City leaders face an urgent need to put in place policies and strategies to counter deepening inequality and build “all-in cities” where all residents — especially those who’ve long been excluded — can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.

Understanding the state of equity in cities is critical to advancing this agenda, which is why PolicyLink and the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) are expanding the National Equity Atlas to include detailed data disaggregated by race, nativity, and income for the 100 largest cities. The National Equity Atlas is a first-of-its-kind data and policy tool that provides indicators of demographic change, racial and economic inclusion, and the economic benefits of equity for all 50 states, the 150 largest regions, and nationwide.

Please join us on September 30th for a tour of the new city data and learn how you can use it to advance policies and strategies to build more equitable, resilient, and vibrant cities.

I will be moderating a panel of speakers that includes:

For many health advocates across California, today has been highlighted on the calendar for months. That’s because it’s the day that the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research released the results of the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) for 2013 and 2014. As the most detailed source of health data for California’s diverse population, CHIS is instrumental to our advocacy efforts here at CPEHN as we work to eliminate the inequities faced by communities of color.

During a seminar earlier today, Dr. Ninez Ponce (a former CPEHN board member) and Dr. David Grant discussed the survey and some of the results. One exciting new feature of CHIS is that you can now access individual year data from 2011 to 2014. Before, the data was released every two years, but now the plan is to release new data each year:

"This is a significant development that will provide policymakers and others with much more timely data on the health of Californians," said David Grant, director of CHIS.

The 2013 and 2014 CHIS data is particularly interesting because it shows the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions. We are in the midst of the largest reduction in uninsurance rates in a generation and prior to today we were still looking for solid information on the scope of the ACA’s impact. In a new fact sheet also released today, the UCLA Center showed how the uninsured rate in California dropped significantly in 2014, thanks in large part to a large increase in Medi-Cal recipients.

The work of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is an invaluable resource for us at CPEHN and for everyone working on achieving equity in health. As the leading federal agency for health services research, AHRQ’s annual National Healthcare Quality & Disparities Reports provide some of the most comprehensive data available on how our health care system is performing, particularly in regards to communities of color.

But AHRQ is in peril. The recent appropriations bill from the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee has proposed to eliminate AHRQ. If this legislation advances, we would be left without a source of data that is essential to efforts to reduce inequities, improve quality, and reduce costs in our health care system.

But all hope is not lost for AHRQ! There is still time for you to take action and stop this legislation. You can share your support through this useful advocacy tool on AcademyHealth’s website. Every voice counts and your support could help save this vitally important resource.

The data available through AHRQ informs our work at CPEHN on an almost daily basis, and we have a number of AHRQ resources available on our website. AHRQ helps us identify inequities in a variety of health care quality measures, including: