America's most vulnerable residents have made the biggest gains under Obamacare

UnitedHealth Says It's Losing Money Participating in Obamacare

Immigrants, low-income workers and racial minorities saw big gains in health care coverage in 2014, the first full year in which the Affordable Care Act was in effect, a New York Times analysis revealed Tuesday.

Nearly one-third of the newly insured adults were Hispanic, and coverage rates soared for low-wage workers such as cooks, hairdressers, and cashiers.

Immigrants — including more than one million non-citizen residents — saw the largest surge in coverage rates, the Times reported.

The health care law's effectiveness has typically been measured by the amount of newly insured people, which was last tallied at 20 million as of February 2016.

Photos of health care opinions at rallies and protests:

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America's most vulnerable residents have made the biggest gains under Obamacare
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Assembly of some 150 anti-abortion protesters behind barricade in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, UNITED STATES - 2015/08/22: Protester with Baby Doe sign in front of Planned Parenthood. A coalition of anti-abortion protesters protested on Mott Street in Manhattan in front of Planned Parenthood. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Republican presidential candidate, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a Anti-abortion rally opposing federal funding for Planned Parenthood in front of the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2015 in Washington, DC. Planned Parenthood faces mounting criticism amid the release of videos by a pro-life group and demands to vote in the Senate to stop funding. (Photo by Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 22: Pro-choice protesters chant in front of the Supreme Court on Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, the anniversary of the Roe v Wade abortion decision. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 5: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., testifies during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on 'ObamaCare: Why the Need for an Insurance Company Bailout?' on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 25: Affordable Care Act supporters hold up signs outside the Supreme Court as they wait for the court's decision on Obamacare on Thursday, June 25, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 25 - Supporters of the Affordable Care Act celebrate as the opinion for health care is reported outside of the Supreme Court in Washington,Thursday June 25, 2015. The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
RICHMOND, CA - MARCH 31: Posters about Obamacare are posted on a window during a healthcare enrollment fair at the Bay Area Rescue Mission on March 31, 2014 in Richmond, California. SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) held the fair to help people sign up for free and low-cost health coverage through Medi-Cal or Covered California on the final day before the sign-up deadline. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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The Times analysis, which examined 2014 census data, determined the demographic breakdown of the newly insured.

"The law has clearly reduced broad measures of inequality," Harvard economics professor David Cutler, who was an adviser to President Obama during the 2008 campaign, told the Times. "These are people who blend into the background of the economy. They are cleaning your hotel room, making your sandwich. The law has helped this population enormously.

Two-thirds of the country's newly insured adults were minorities. Of the 1.2 million non-citizens who gained coverage, 60 percent were Hispanic and around one-third were Asian. The law also helped cover high rates of part-time workers and residents with only a high school education.

The Times' findings are significant given the context of 2016's election, as both parties vie for Hispanic and minority votes. The health care law — which passed in 2010 without the help of Republicans and was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012 and 2015 — remains a hotly disputed piece of legislation which each of the Republican presidential candidates have promised to repeal.

The law still has hurdles to clear. Some Americans still cannot afford coverage, and the Pew Research Center's Mark Hugo Lopez told the Times that the vast majority of the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants remain uninsured.

Furthermore, 19 states have refused to expand their Medicaid programs to cover the poor, as per the Supreme Court's 2012 ruling. This disproportionately affected the coverage rates of black residents, the majority of whom live in those states that have refused the expansion, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The New York Times full analysis can be found here»
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