H ealth coverage at risk due to data discrepancies _lowres

Associated Press file photo Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Barack Obama’s nominee to become secretary of Health and Human Services, testifies May 14 on Capitol Hill in Washington. More than 2 million people who got health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law have data discrepancies that could jeopardize coverage for some, a government document shows.

The number of people without health insurance in Louisiana is down 33 percent since the federal Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010, according to a federal report released Tuesday.

“As our nation debates changes to the health care system, it’s important to take stock of where we are today compared to where we were before the Affordable Care Act,” said U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “Whether Louisianians get coverage through an employer, Medicaid, the individual market, or Medicare, they have better health coverage and care today as a result of the ACA. Millions of Americans with all types of coverage have a stake in the future of health reform. We need to build on our progress and continue to improve health care access, quality, and affordability, not move our system backward.”

The rate of people who don't have health insurance fell from 17.8 percent in 2010 to 11.9 percent in 2015.

The uninsured number has likely changed, as it doesn't include the period in which the state expanded its Medicaid program through the federal health care law. The expansion took effect in January and more than 350,000 newly-eligible people have since enrolled. The HHS report estimates that expanded coverage will translate to 230 avoided deaths this year.

Figures from HHS indicate that 34,000 young adults in Louisiana have remained on their parents' health insurance under the health care law's provision that requires that they be covered until age 26.

And the health care law's ban on denying overage to people with pre-existing conditions could impact nearly 2 million Louisiana residents.

The young adult and pre-existing conditions portions of the health care law are among parts that President-elect Donald Trump has said he would like to keep as he works to overhaul health care when he takes office.

But the Affordable Care Act, informally known as "Obamacare," remains largely unpopular in Louisiana. A recent poll from the University of New Orleans found that 66 percent of voters surveyed supported a repeal.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, took part in a discussion on the future of health care laws on Monday.

He said he would like to see a repeal and replacement of Obamacare over a four-year period.

"Let us opt for something that works for us," he said. "Right now, it can only get better."

On Tuesday, Cassidy met with Rep. Tom Price, the Georgia Republican who has been tapped to lead HHS in the incoming Trump administration.

"I look forward to working with Tom on an Obamacare replacement plan that works for all Americans," Cassidy said.

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.