News

Obamacare ‘accomplishing goal;’ uninsured drops to 6-year low

Obamacare ‘accomplishing goal;’ uninsured drops to 6-year low

HEALTHCARE:Some 15.6 percent of Americans lacked health insurance in the first three months of 2014, down from a high of 18 percent in late 2013, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. Photo: Associated Press

By Curtis Skinner

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The percentage of Americans without health insurance dipped to its lowest in nearly six years due in part to U.S. President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law, commonly known as Obamacare, according to a Gallup poll released on Monday.

Some 15.6 percent of Americans lacked health insurance in the first three months of 2014, down from a high of 18 percent in late 2013, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey.

“‘Obamacare’ appears to be accomplishing its goal of increasing the percentage of Americans with health insurance coverage,” the report said.

Black and low-income Americans saw some of the most pronounced drops in the uninsured rate, with declines of more than 3 percentage points.

Hispanics remained the group most likely not to be insured, with more than one in three individuals lacking coverage, though the level dropped nearly 2 points in the first quarter, according to the poll of 43,500 adult Americans between January and March. It has a margin of error of 1 percentage point.

The percentage of Americans without health insurance has generally trended upward over the past six years. Gallup began tracking insurance coverage in 2008, starting at a low of 14.5 percent and increasing every subsequent year except for 2012.

Obamacare’s individual mandate, which requires most Americans to obtain coverage or face a fine, went into effect in January and the law’s first enrollment period ended March 31. The government granted a deadline extension into April for those who faced technical difficulties while signing up.

The White House last week reported a total of 7.1 million private insurance enrollments through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges, exceeding most expectations, despite a troubled rollout in October 2013.

An additional 3 million signed up for Medicaid, government-provided health insurance for low-income people, the administration said Friday, bringing the total number of sign-ups to over 10 million.

Republicans have consistently campaigned against the law, making at least 50 attempts to repeal it since it was signed in 2010. Opposition to Obamacare also figures prominently in many 2014 midterm Congressional campaigns.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has not yet released its April enrollment report, Gallup researchers said, but the survey’s findings matched the government’s last figures.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Bernadette Baum)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Aaron Hernandez trail delayed by bomb threat

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez listens during a motion regarding jail phone recordings during his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass., on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Hernandez is accused in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.

A bomb threat has delayed proceedings of the Aaron Hernandez murder trial.

in National, World

Police search house of pilot who crashed A320

Police hold media away from the house where Andreas Lubitz lived in Montabaur, Germany, Thursday, March 26, 2015. Lubitz was the copilot on flight Germanwings 9525 that crashed with 150 people on board on Tuesday in the French Alps. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

The co-pilot of the airliner that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 people aboard, appears to have brought the plane down deliberately.

in National, World

PHOTOS: Crash of Germanwings Flight 9525

AP41207304817_9

All 150 people on board the jet - including three Americans - were killed Tuesday when it crashed in the French Alps.

in Lifestyle

Eyes on the road: AAA says distracted driving worse than we thought

driving

You know how some people insist they can drive safely — even while they fiddle with their smartphones or other electronic devices? They can't.

in Sports

GPS can’t help Cubs pitcher find his way

edwinjackson

You've heard of baseball pitchers who have trouble finding the plate. How about a pitcher who can't even find the ballpark?