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 Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 31

phoenix

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable moments.

in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘Birdman’ could be the best film of 2014

In this image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, Michael Keaton portrays Riggan in a scene from "Birdman."

You’ve heard the buzz for Michael Keaton's "Birdman." It’s loud and it's merited.

in Entertainment

PHOTOS: 31 adorable pets in Halloween costumes

Bailey Jarrett and her dog Teddy visit a Dallas-area PetSmart store on Oct. 25, 2014, for the company's annual in-store Halloween event. The event took place at all PetSmart locations throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.

This Halloween is going to the dogs... and cats, ferrets, and bunnies.

in Music

Queen, Fleetwood Mac won’t be playing Glastonbury

fleetwoodmac

The two veteran rock acts were strongly rumored to have been booked as the big names for the 2015 festival.

in Entertainment

Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘I’m proud to be gay’

timcook

Cook wrote a column published on Thursday and said he hopes that his declaration can help others.