The Affordable Care Act You Likely Know as Obamacare

It just won’t die. Grandma, that is, in front of the death panels of Obamacare. Remember those? Well, even if you don’t, the Affordable Care Act (the actual name for Obamacare) is still around despite repeated attempts to repeal it. So in this piece from Bloomberg, Obamacare is examined from the perspective of leaving 27 million people uninsured. In 2010, there were 47 million Americans without insurance and so the programme worked for 20 million people. But what about those remaining 27?

I am not usually a fan of tree maps, because it is difficult to compare areas. However, in this piece the designers chose to animate each section of the tree as they move along their story. And because the data set remains consistent, e.g. the element of the 20 million who gained insurance, the graphic becomes a familiar part of the article and serves as a branching off point—see what I did there?—to explore different slices of the data.

This is a tree map I actually think works well
This is a tree map I actually think works well

So in the end, this becomes one of those cases where I actually think the tree map worked to great effect. Now there is a cartogram in the article, that I am less sure about. It uses squares within squares to represent the number of uninsured and ineligible for assistance as a share of the total uninsured.

I'm not sure the map is necessary here
I’m not sure the map is necessary here

Some of the visible patterns come from states that refused to expand Medicaid. It was supposed to cover the poorest, but the Supreme Court ruled it was optional not mandatory and 19 states refused to expand the coverage. But surely that could have been done in a clearer fashion than the map?

Credit for the piece goes to Jeremy Scott Diamond, Zachary Tracer, and Chloe Whiteaker.

Where Medicaid is Not Expanding is Where it is Needed Most

Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that most of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was constitutional. The one exception, however, was the plan to force states to expand their Medicaid coverage. Medicaid is the government plan tasked with helping to provide health insurance to the poor. But between the poverty level and the income level for subsidies for the new state exchanges, there is a gap. That gap was supposed to be covered by the state expansion of Medicaid.

Because the states are not being forced to expand their coverage, there now exists state-by-state gaps in health insurance coverage. This excellent interactive graphic from the New York Times looks at the poverty and insurance coverage segregated into those states that are and are not expanding their coverage. A good number of those states with high rates of poor and uninsured are Republican, deep-South states. If you’re really clever, you’ll compare this map to my map from earlier this week about the Conservative Party. Notice any overlaps?

States not expanding Medicaid
States not expanding Medicaid

Credit for the piece Robert Gebeloff, Haeyoun Park, Matthew Bloch, and Matthew Ericson.