Obamacare Handed Clean Bill of Health by Gallup

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When the six-month enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges came to a close on March 31, not much time or media energy was devoted to dwelling on the fact that the Obama administration’s target of 7 million sign ups had been reached. Overshadowing that victory was ongoing argument that hitting the enrollment target was not a real sign of success; according to critical analyses, more important to the viability of the marketplaces system created by the health care reform was who enrolled. If a majority those who signed up were previously uninsured then Obamacare successfully expanded coverage as President Barack Obama intended.

Shortly after the March 31 deadline passed, data collected by Gallup between early January and late February was released, showing that the percentage of Americans without health insurance had dropped to 15.9 percent in the early months of 2014, down from 17.1 percent in the fourth-quarter of last year. While Gallup noted both the concurrent timing of the Obamacare exchanges’ enrollment period and the decline of the uninsured rate, as well as the numbers of Americans who obtained coverage either through the exchanges or the expansion of Medicaid, the report did not specifically attribute the gains in insurance coverage to the reform. What Jenna Levy did write was that drop in the uninsured rate was “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.”

Gallup has now confirmed that the country’s uninsurance rate is declining as a result of the health care reform. But the insurance rate among adults aged 18 and older is only falling significantly in the states that chose to both expand Medicaid and set up their own online insurance exchanges.

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