A Gallup survey confirms that the percentage of Americans without health insurance has fallen from 17.1 percent to 15.6 percent, placing the uninsurance rate at the lowest rate since late 2008. The results comes just days after the Obama administration announced that 7.1 million Americans signed up for private coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Gallup found that the uninsured rate has fallen consistently since the end of 2013, with the highest gains among low-income Americans and African Americans. The uninsurance rate “for lower-income Americans dropped 3.2 points to 27.5% — the largest decline within any key subgroup — while the uninsured rate for blacks fell 3.3 points to 17.6%”:
The ACA’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility is responsible for gains of coverage among the poor. Last week, data from the Health and Human Services Department concluded that nearly four and a half million low-income Americans who were looking for coverage during the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period have gained access to public health insurance. Enrollment in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) spiked by about eight percent in the states that accepted expansion, while non-expansion states only saw a two percent increase over the same period.
While the Gallup survey — which is based on more than 43,500 interviews with U.S. adults from Jan. 2 to March 31, 2014 — is only a snapshot of the reduction and the administration has yet to release data showing how many of the new enrollees were previously uninsured, academic research suggests that the health care law is effectively lowering the number of people without access to health care coverage. The Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported last week that an estimated 5.4 million adults who had not been insured as of September now have health insurance and unpublished data from the the Rand Corporation shows that the uninsurance rate “fell from 20.9 in late 2013 to 16.6 percent in early 2014.”