U.S. Uninsured Rate Still Falling FastBy: Sean Patterson - March 11, 2014
Though Republicans in the U.S. House are still dreaming up ways to get rid of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act, ACA), they will now have to contend will millions of Americans who have health insurance as a result of the program.
Gallup this week released poll data showing that the rate of uninsured Americans has dropped precipitously since the botched rollout of the ACA’s health marketplace websites. The survey shows that just 15.9% of U.S. adults were uninsured as of late February. This is down from an average of 16.2% in January and far below the peak of 18% seen near the end of summer 2013.
This rise in insured Americans crosses nearly all demographics. The uninsured reate among Americans aged 26 to 34 dropped to 26.6% in January and February, and the rate among 35- to 64-year-olds dropped to just 16.3%.
All major ethnic categories in the U.S. (white, black, and hispanic) saw drops in the uninsured rate, though black Americans saw the most significant change. The uninsured rate among black Americans now sites at 18.3%, down 2.6% from the nearly 21% that were uninsured during the fourth quarter of 2013.
All economic categories also saw a rise in the percentage of insured. The lowest economic category grouped by Gallup, those that make less than $36,000 per year, saw the largest drop in uninsured, down 2.8% from the fourth quarter of 2013 to sit at just 27.9% now.
As in the past, Gallup is hesitant to directly cite the implementation of Obamacare as the cause of the drop in uninsured Americans. It seems clear from the poll percentages and the numbers recently released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, however, that the new healthcare exchanges – and the law’s mandate on health coverage – are driving more Americans toward healthcare coverage.