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Will Obamacare cover all of the uninsured?

Even when the law is fully implemented, budget forecasters expect that 31 million people will lack insurance coverage.

Chart showing the continued decline of the uninsured rate for early 2016 Vox / Sarah Frostenson

No. Despite what you may have heard, it’s a bit of a misnomer to call Obamacare universal coverage. At the end of the day and when the law is fully implemented, budget forecasters expect that 31 million people will lack insurance coverage.

Thirty-one million is a lot smaller than the 48.6 million Americans who currently lack insurance coverage, but it’s also not nobody. Budget forecasters estimate that the biggest chunk of that group — 45 percent — will simply decide not to buy health insurance, despite having access to the exchange or coverage at work.

Another 30 percent will be undocumented workers, who are not eligible for financial assistance. About 20 percent are eligible for Medicaid but, for some reason or another, don’t end up signing up. Last, approximately 5 percent of Obamacare’s uninsured are low-income residents of states that don’t expand Medicaid, who may not have access to affordable coverage.

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