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Politics of Affordable Healthcare: the Facts

Photograph by Twenty20

The United States has the most advanced medical care in the world, but that doesn't mean much to those who can't afford it. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, aka: Obamacare, more Americans are now insured. Even so, the cost of medical care sends more Americans into bankruptcy court than any other cause.

While it's clear the system needs reform, politicians bicker about the best way to do it. Americans continue to shoulder the high cost of getting sick. Healthcare has gotten overshadowed in this election, but here's what everyone should know before casting their vote for the next president of the U.S.

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Even after Obamacare was launched, 33 million Americans—or 10 percent of the population—are still without health insurance.

As of the end of 2014, more than seven in 10 of the uninsured have at least one full-time worker in their family. An additional 12 percent have a part-time worker in the family.

More than a quarter of uninsured adults (27 percent) in 2014 went without medical care in the previous year because of cost.

The 10 states with the highest uninsured rates in 2014 were all in the South and West.

Texas leads the nation with the highest percentage of residents without health insurance—about 19 percent of the state's population. In 2015, seven states had uninsured rates that were at or below 5 percent: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Minnesota, Iowa, Connecticut and Hawaii.

The rate of uninsurance among children dropped to a historic low of 6 percent following implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

Medicaid is the single largest health insurer for children, providing affordable health coverage to more than 36 million low-income children and children with disabilities.

Young adults make up the largest segment of the uninsured and are one of the fastest growing segments of the uninsured population.

The majority of America's roughly 7 million uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program) but are not yet enrolled.

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States with the sharpest declines in the rate of uninsured children were Nevada, Colorado, West Virginia, Mississippi and Rhode Island. Nevada's decline was considerably larger than any other state.

The number of Americans getting health insurance through their employers has been steadily declining since 2000, with approximately only 60 percent now getting insurance this way.

Hospitals may charge wildly different amounts for the same procedure. For example, California patients paid more than $291,000 for an intestinal bleeding procedure, while those in Arkansas paid just $5,400.

A state-by-state compilation of average hospital costs for various treatments revealed care is most expensive in these five states: California, New Jersey, Nevada, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Unpaid medical bills are expected to be the No.1 cause of bankruptcy filings, surpassing both credit card and mortgage debt.

Roughly 40 percent of Americans owe collectors money for costs they incurred while they were sick.

Just 5 percent of Americans account for half of the spending in the health care system—about $40,000 per person per year. Twenty percent of Americans account for 80 percent.

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U.S. adults are likelier than those in other developed countries to struggle to pay their medical bills or to forgo care because of cost.

Nearly half of underinsured adults said they used their savings to pay medical bills and 44 percent said they had received lower credit ratings because of medical bills.

A third of the underinsured said they took on credit card debt to pay for healthcare that wasn't covered through their benefits.

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