Survey Finds Obamacare Is Helping Those Who Need Health Insurance Most

CREDIT: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Lower income Americans are becoming insured at a greater rate than non-poor Americans as a result of the coverage expansion in the Affordable Care Act, a new federal health care survey has found.

While adults aged 18–64 who were not-poor (those with incomes of 200 percent of the poverty threshold or greater) saw their uninsurance rate decrease by 1.3 percentage points between 2013 and the first three months of 2014, the uninsurance rate for adults who were poor (those below the poverty threshold) or near poor (incomes of 100 percent to less than 200 percent of the poverty threshold) decreased by more than 4 percentage points over the same period, researchers with the National Health Interview Survey concluded:

Percent of uninsured all poverty


Low-income children have also disproportionately benefited from Obamacare. As the graph below shows, the percentage of poor and near poor children without insurance decreased from 1997, when the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) was signed into law, through the first 3 months of 2014. The percentage of uninsurance for not-poor children “has generally remained stable”:

Percentage young poor


Echoing earlier findings, federal researchers also found that the 27 states and D.C. that have expanded Medicaid saw a sharp drop in the share of uninsured of nearly three percentage points. States that did not, saw the percentage of uninsured decrease by one percentage point. As a result, states without Medicaid expansion generally maintain uninsured rates that are above the national average:

Uninsurance by state


Overall, the number of uninsured fell by 8 percent to 41 million people over January, February, and March of 2014, though the real decrease is likely much larger, since the law saw a rush of enrollment between March and April. The results from the federal survey largely match earlier findings from Gallup.