On Monday, Gallup released a tracking poll that shows the uninsured rate for Americans has declined over the past two quarters. After reaching a high of 18% in the third quarter of 2013, prior to the open enrollment period to buy private health insurance plans on the state and federal exchanges, the uninsured rate dropped to 17.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013 and is now down to 15.6%. This is based off of 43,500 interviews done throughout the first quarter.
Here is what was written by Jenna Levy at Gallup when the poll was released:
The uninsured rate has been falling since the fourth quarter of 2013, after hitting an all-time high of 18.0% in the third quarter — a sign that the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” appears to be accomplishing its goal of increasing the percentage of Americans with health insurance coverage. Even within this year’s first quarter, the uninsured rate fell consistently, from 16.2% in January to 15.6% in February to 15.0% in March. And within March, the rate dropped more than a point, from 15.8% in the first half of the month to 14.7% in the second half — indicating that enrollment through the healthcare exchanges increased as the March 31 deadline approached.
The poll also showed a decline across the board for all age groups, as 18-25, 26-34 and 35-64 year-olds all saw a drop in their uninsured rates of about 2 points from the third quarter of 2013. While the two youngest age groups still have the highest uninsured rate, it does show that the so-called ‘invincibles’ took advantage of the opportunity to finally get affordable heath coverage and utilized the marketplaces.
Steve Benen of MSNBC’s The Maddow Blog wrote an excellent blog post on Monday about the positive impact of the ACA and how it is doing just what it set out to do, which is decrease the number of uninsured people in this country. He provided some nice bullet points detailing evidence that the ACA is working, and working well:
Consider a brief tale of the tape:* ACA enrollment through exchanges reached 7.1 million, ahead of early estimates.* If we include Medicaid, coverage has been extended to well over 10 million Americans.* The ACA is quickly reducing the uninsured rate.* According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the ACA is cheaper than expected and its risk-adjustment provisions are on track to turn a profit for taxpayers.* Thanks in part to the ACA, health care spending has slowed dramatically and health care inflation is at its lowest point in 50 years.* According to the Department of Commerce, the ACA is also having a positive effect on personal incomes.