US uninsured rate heads toward new low

The percent of Americans without insurance is on track to reach a historic low after the country’s unprecedented surge in healthcare sign-ups last year, newly released government data show.

About 9.7 million people gained healthcare in ObamaCare’s first year, reflecting the biggest jump since the government’s healthcare programs were expanded 40 years ago, according to a study by the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).

{mosads}A total of 11.3 percent of Americans were uninsured in the first half of this year, down from 14.4 percent last year before the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

“Following this year’s gains, we estimate that the nation’s uninsured rate is now at or near the lowest levels ever recorded across the slightly more than 50 years for which we have data,” CEA Chairman Jason Furman and Senior Economist Matt Fiedler wrote Thursday.

And the numbers are likely to keep improving in the second year of ObamaCare, the economists predicted.

“These data imply that the uninsured rate will continue to fall in the year ahead, reaching low levels unprecedented in the nation’s history,” they wrote on the White House blog, describing the feat as a “historic accomplishment.”

The drop in the uninsured rate is partly driven by the millions of people who flocked last year to Medicaid, the low-income healthcare program.

About 9.7 million people are now enrolled in Medicaid, according to separate government data also released Thursday.

That tally is nearly 20 percent more than in summer 2013, before the health insurance exchanges opened.

“This is great news. But, the best news is that the number of people with health coverage continues to increase,” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wrote in a statement.

The government has also counted at least 2.5 million new sign-ups in the first month of this years open enrollment period, with about two months left before the final deadline.

Tags Jason Furman

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