Uninsured rate drops again under ObamaCare

Uninsured rate drops again under ObamaCare
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A new survey finds that only 11.9 percent of people in the United States lacked health insurance in the first quarter of the year, a drop of 5.2 percentage points since ObamaCare went into effect.

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The Gallup-Healthways survey released Monday finds that the rate of people lacking health insurance fell 1 percentage point, from 12.9 percent, at the end of 2014. Since ObamaCare’s coverage expansion went into effect at the beginning of 2014, the rate has fallen from 17.1 percent.

Gallup notes that some of the decrease could also be due to the improving economy, but the healthcare law appears to be playing a major role. The rate is lower than its 14.6 percent mark at the beginning of 2008, which was before the economy crashed. 

The Obama administration has been using the declining numbers to argue that the law is working. It touted its estimate in March, based on Gallup data, that 16 million people had gained coverage because of the law. 

"The evidence shows that the Affordable Care Act is working, and families, businesses and taxpayers are better off as a result,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said then. 

The coverage expansion faces a threat from the Supreme Court, which could gut the law by invalidating the subsidies that help about 7.5 million people afford coverage in the case of King v. Burwell.  

The data released Monday shows that the drop in the uninsured rate appears to be slowing. In the first enrollment period, in 2014, the rate fell 1.5 percentage points, but in this year’s enrollment period, it fell 1 point. 

The uninsured rate among Hispanic people has dropped at a higher rate, down 8.3 percentage points since the beginning of 2014. Hispanics have a higher uninsured rate, at 30.4 percent. 

The uninsured rate for African-Americas dropped 7.3 percentage points to 13.6 percent. 

Burwell said in March that, for African-Americans and Hispanics, the statistics are "not probably exactly where you want to be because the numbers are still high."

She noted that she hit the road to boost enrollment, including a stop at a largely African-American church in Texas. The administration has also purchased advertising targeting Hispanics and has put messages on receipts at 7-Elevens. 

"We tried a lot of things," she said. "And now we have to analyze which ones work.”