According to UPI, a new government report–bearing good news for a change–shows fewer Americans are struggling to pay medical bills now than five years ago. The number of people in families having problems paying medical bills fell by nearly 13 million from 2011 through the first six months of 2016. During that period, 17.8 million fewer people were uninsured. However, the report doesn’t explore why fewer folks reported problems with medical bills. The report was released Wednesday by U.S. National Centers for Health Statistics. But public health researchers say expanded health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act– also known as Obamacare — and an improving economy likely eased the pain. Kristin Baughman is an associate professor of family and community medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University. She said those helped most by the health law are the poorest, those making less than 150 percent of the poverty level. Under federal guidelines, a person earning 150 percent of the poverty level would make $17,820 a year. Whether that relief continues under the incoming Trump administration, however, remains to be seen. The president-elect has pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare.
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