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

5 hours ago in National

‘Flags in’ for Memorial Day weekend

flags16146721748085

The tradition marks the beginning of Memorial Day weekend activities around the nation.

8 hours ago in National

Trump wins the Republican nomination for president

trumpAP

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president.

10 hours ago in National

TSA chief: Help is on the way to address long airport lines

15-overlay-14

The head of the Transportation Security Administration said the beleaguered agency will add 768 new screeners by mid-June to deal with increasingly long airport security lines that have caused passengers to miss flights even before the busy summer travel season.

11 hours ago in Lifestyle

Public pools are gross, but you’ll go swimming anyway

16-overlay-10

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost 80 percent of public pools fail routine health inspections.

11 hours ago in National

Hundreds protest for $15 minimum wage at McDonald’s headquarters

19-overlay-8

Hundreds of protesters marched through pouring rain to call for higher wages and union rights at McDonald's Corp on Wednesday, leading the hamburger chain to shut down its headquarters a day before its annual meeting.