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Rate Of Uninsured Americans Continues To Decline

Memo Pad

Rate Of Uninsured Americans Continues To Decline


A Gallup poll released on Monday finds that the rate of uninsured Americans is continuing to decline, reaching its lowest point since 2008 after having peaked in the third quarter of 2013.

According to Gallup, “the uninsured rate for almost every major demographic group has dropped in 2014 so far.”

Despite nonstop attacks against President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and ongoing tales of the law’s flaws and horrors, the newly reported numbers show a much different and more positive reality. Though the findings do not prove that the decline in uninsured Americans is a direct result of people obtaining coverage through Obamacare, Gallup attributes a portion of that decline to the Medicaid expansion that nearly half of the states have adopted. Additionally, the poll finds that by the end of 2013, the rate of thodr covered under Medicaid rose from 6.6 percent to 7.4 percent.

Gallup survey --uninsured rates

The overall decline is most notable among low-income Americans with an annual household income of less than $36,000: since the fourth quarter of 2013, the rate of uninsured in this segment has dropped by 2.8 percent. Similarly, among African-Americans, the rate has dropped by 2.6 percent.

Hispanics, however, “remain the subgroup most likely to lack health insurance,” Gallup notes. The rate of uninsured Hispanics is a relatively high 37.9 percent – a rate higher than the 38.7 percent uninsured by the fourth quarter of 2013.

The uninsured rate among young people aged 18 to 25 remains stagnant at 23 percent – reflecting only a 0.5 percent decline since the fourth quarter of 2013. Among older Americans, the rate has actually increased by 0.2 percent. However, uninsured rates are declining in two main age groups: those aged 26-34, by 1.6 percent, and aged 35-64, by 1.7 percent.

Overall, Gallup finds that the rate of uninsured Americans reached 15.9 percent in the first quarter of 2014 – significantly less than the 17.1 percent rate reported in the last quarter of 2013.

As the Boston Herald points out, that 1.2 percent decline “translates roughly to 3 million to 4 million people getting coverage.”

The poll’s findings are especially good news for the president and proponents of the health care law. Even though the Obama administration has said it does not know how many uninsured people are enrolling in health care plans through the Obamacare exchanges, the poll’s numbers are evidence that at least millions are now covered, even if not directly through the exchanges.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll was conducted between January 2 and February 28, and surveyed 28,396 adults. The margin of error is +/- 1 percentage point.

Chart via Gallup



  1. Dominick Vila March 11, 2014

    Don’t expect conservatives to be impressed by this statistic. Retorts ranging from “cradle to grave”, socialism, communism, and the rest of the illogical arguments to reject policies that are inconsistent with their goal of eliminating social programs and letting the private sector pick up the slack are the most likely response to things that most people would conclude were long overdue.
    In addition to making access to preventive medicine accessible to those who never had that type of coverage before, the Affordable Care Act allows millions of handicapped Americans to enjoy the benefits of having health insurance, and help tens of thousands of young Americans complete their education or get started without the fear of having to do so without health insurance. Those afflicted by serious illnesses no longer have to sell their homes and everything they worked for throughout their lives when they reach an artificial “cap” imposed by the insurance industry, which has no problem charging high premiums, but is reluctant to pay for the things people paid for. Last, but not least, millions of seniors no longer have to worry about the effects of the “donut hole”.
    Having said all this, I believe the administration has to do a better job at reaching out to millions of uninsured Americans who do not own a computer, don’t know how to use one, and are among those who would benefit from ACA the most.

    1. Independent1 March 11, 2014

      I can’t disagree with your last comments Dominick, but how would you expect the administration to identify the people you descirbe as “uninsureds who don’t own a computer or know how to use one” – given that they probably represent somewhere around 5% or less of the population and are people who may well not make enough to even complete a tax return. The administration can’t be sending out mailings to a large portion of Americans in the hopes of reaching a small fraction of them.

      Best I understand, ACA has actually included monies in the legislation for states to set up groups of insurance counselors for people in the state to contact to get help with identifying an insurance plan that fits their needs. Of course, ACA probably also leaves it up to the states with respect to puplicizing the availability of these groups to the state’s citizens. And red states refusing to push Obamacare are most likely doing very little to promote sales of Obamacare plans. I don’t own a TV or listen much to the radio, so I’m not aware here in Maine if there are any ads put on by government agencies making people aware of any Obamacare insurance counseling groups in our state.

      In addition to this consideration though, it’s interesting that Obamacare has already been noted to be improving the incomes and spending of people who have enrolled in health insurance under the new law; based, I assume, on the savings they are realizing in their new insurance premiums. See this:

      The Affordable Care Act, President Barack Barack Obama’s signature health law, is already boosting household income and spending.

      The Commerce Department reported Monday that consumer spending rose a better-than-expected 0.4% and personal incomes climbed 0.3% in January. The new health-care law accounted for a big chunk of the increase on both fronts.

      On the incomes side, the law’s expanded coverage boosted Medicaid benefits by an estimated $19.2 billion, according to Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. The ACA also offered several refundable tax credits, including health insurance premium subsidies, which added up to $14.7 billion.

      1. Dominick Vila March 12, 2014

        There is no question that the 3 million or so people who have access to medical care thanks to ACA have benefited from it personally and economically, and that they are now contributing to our economic growth instead of being a burden to our economy.
        Reaching out to the poorest segment of our society is not easy, but not impossible. People who collect unemployment, welfare, or who receive MEDICAID benefits, for example, could be approached easily. Those government institutions could explain the benefits of joining ACA, and could help them join the program. Unfortunately, many of those institutions are run at a state level, and expecting red states to encourage people to join ACA is a tall order. In fact, they are likely to tell them the opposite, even though state governments would benefit from shifting the cost of helping those in need to the Federal government. Don’t forget that there are more RED than BLUE states and that opposition to ACA remains strong in almost every RED state.

        1. Independent1 March 12, 2014

          I hadn’t thought about the fact that although I believe the states actually administer unemployment and welfare benefits, the feds could be soliciting the names and addresses of those getting these benefits from the states so they could mail them info on applying for health insurance via the ACA. I don’t know whether or not that’s happening and/or whether a lot of red states would drag their feet in providing that info to the feds. But that would be one way to get ACA info to a lot of folks who may not have internet access or now know how to apply for insurance via ACA. Hopefully, the Obama administration realizes they could be getting that information from the States to help get ACA rolled out to these folks.

    2. Independent1 March 11, 2014

      An additional thought on my last post – I’ve been getting several emails a week from the people tied to administration reminding me that March is the deadline month for 2014 Obamacare sign ups and asking me to contact any family members or friends that I’m aware of who may be in need of health insurance to remind them of the deadline and hopefully help them get enrolled if that’s needed. Have you encountered any such emails down in FLA?
      Also I was disappointed to see that Alex Sink lost her bid to finish out Bill Young’s term; that would have been a nice pick up for the Dems.

      1. Dominick Vila March 12, 2014

        I have been getting a lot of e-mails from MoveOn and members of the DNC asking me for support on Obamacare recruitment and other issues.
        Alex Sink is not a great campaigner, but the truth is that without parts of Central Florida and most of South Florida, this state is a RED state. I could not believe the number of Romney signs and empty chairs next to them in 2012. Most of my neighbors are Republicans, some for reasons that have little to do with politics, and some for wedge issues such as abortion.

        1. Independent1 March 12, 2014

          I think a lot of Republicans are either being easily swayed by the constant bombardment of the GOP’s right-wing rhetoric made worse by Citizens’ United, they vote Republican because that’s been their family’s tradition for decades or they just take the misguided lead to vote Republican from their church’s pastor, minister, priest or preacher; ignoring the fact that the GOP is the most corrupt, anti-Christian organization in America .

  2. dmhlt_66 March 11, 2014

    A nice decline in uninsured Americans?
    Let’s give credit where credit is due …

    Thanks Obama!

  3. charles king March 11, 2014

    People just do some (Critical Thinking) and you can make your Democracy work for you. What? the hell is going on in America. How? come Republicans and others are against All American’s having Obamacare, medicare, Social-Security, all of these social programs they all work. I am (84) years young because of the social programs, They Work! The (99%iers) still have the upper hand because the Vote is still Supreme in our Democracy. The (1%iers) with the money can only play at ruling the masses. Next time Vote all those Plutocracts out of office, you know Who? they are. Vote them OUT. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING


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