Gallup finds rate of uninsured dropped in states that embraced ObamaCare

States that expanded Medicaid and set up health exchanges under ObamaCare are seeing their uninsured rates drop faster than other sates, according to Gallup.

A new survey released Tuesday from the polling firm found the rate of the uninsured fell 2.5 percent in the states that embraced ObamaCare by opening state exchanges and accepting federal money to expand Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor.

States that didn't make both reforms also saw the percentage of people with health insurance climb, but not by as much. The uninsured rate dropped by 0.8 percent in states that implemented one or neither of the reforms. 

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Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have both expanded Medicaid and set up their own insurance exchange for people on the individual market to purchase insurance. In those states, 13.6 percent of residents lack insurance. 

Another 25 states have implemented neither reform, while four states have expanded Medicaid without also setting up a state-based exchange. In those 29 states, the uninsured rate stands at 17.9 percent. 

States that embraced Obamacare started out with a lower rate of uninsured, but the gap has widened since reforms were made.

Earlier this month, Gallup found the uninsured rate nationally had dropped to its lowest level since 2008 and now stands at 15.6 percent, according to the survey. 

The deadline for completing the sign-up process for a healthcare plan under ObamaCare ended on Tuesday after being extended for two weeks. As of last week, 7.5 million people had signed up for a plan, according to outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

A separate survey from Gallup released Wednesday found more people will be willing to purchase health insurance as the penalty for being uninsured increases. 

If the fine totaled $95, 46 percent of people say they would rather pay a fine than buy insurance. That number decreased to 32 percent when the hypothetical fine reaches $500, and 28 percent when the fine reaches $1,000.

The penalty for not having insurance in 2014 is set at $95 or 1 percent of household income, whichever is higher. It will rise to $325 or 2 percent of income in 2015, and $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016. A number of exceptions will apply.

The Gallup poll is based on interviews with 43,562 people throughout the year. It contains a 0.6-percentage-point margin of error.