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)

Recently Played

Latest Headlines

19 hours ago in Music

TOP 10: Count down the top tracks this week

13-overlay-3

The top 10 songs from the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending Feb. 13.

2 days ago in Entertainment

Bill Murray tosses fans’ phones off rooftop

billmurray

The "Ghostbusters" star was unwinding at rooftop restaurant in California on Thursday when he spotted two starstruck fans trying to snap his photo.

2 days ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Deadpool,’ ‘Zoolander 2’ to battle at the box office

15-overlay-6

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.

2 days ago in Entertainment, National

Roses and roaches: Cold-hearted Valentine’s Day ideas

valentines

With the coldest air in more than a decade forecast to grip the United States this Valentine's Day weekend, the holiday dedicated to love is flashing its frigid side.

2 days ago in Music

BFFs no more: Kanye West, Taylor Swift feud over his ‘Famous’ song

TAYLORswiftkanye

Looks like Taylor Swift and Kanye West are never, ever getting back together.