Fewer Americans are struggling to pay medical bills now than five years ago, a new government report shows.
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, according to the report released Wednesday by U.S. National Centers for Health Statistics (NCHS).
During that period, 17.8 million fewer people were uninsured, although the report doesn't explore why fewer folks reported problems with medical bills.
But public health researchers say expanded health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) -- also known as Obamacare -- and an improving economy likely eased the pain.
Those helped most by the health law are the poorest, those making less than 150 percent of the poverty level, said Kristin Baughman. She is an associate professor of family and community medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University.