(Bloomberg) Obamacare reduced the percentage of U.S. adults without health insurance to its lowest point since 2008 even as the law remains unpopular with the public, separate surveys showed.
The share of American adults without health insurance declined to 13.4% in April from 15.6% in the first quarter of 2014, Gallup said, attributing the reduction to the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare. About 8 million Americans signed up for private health plans using the laws new insurance exchanges. The uninsured rate is the lowest in Gallups survey since the 14.4% reported in the second half of 2008.
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Obama administration officials often cite the Gallup survey as evidence of the laws effect. The government hasnt produced an estimate of any reduction in the uninsured rate, or said with precision how many people who signed up in 2014 didnt have insurance last year. Despite gains in coverage, the law remains unpopular with a majority of Americans, according to a separate survey released today.
The recent surge in sign-ups for the new health-care exchanges has had little impact on public opinion about the Affordable Care Act, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press said in its survey. In fact, the share disapproving of the law is as high as it ever has been in the four-year history of the law.
Pew found that 55% of registered voters disapprove of the law. The research was co-sponsored by USA Today.
We are very pleased to see more than 8 million people enroll in the health insurance marketplace and to see the rate of uninsurance drop so significantly, Erin Shields Britt, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in an e-mail.
The number of uninsured adults has declined from the high-water mark in Gallups survey of 18%in the third quarter of 2013, before the health laws exchanges opened Jan. 1 and Medicaid, the program for low-income people, was expanded to cover more people earning poverty-level wages.
The uninsured rate for Latinos remain the highest by far across key demographic groups, with 33.2% lacking health coverage as of April, Gallup reported. The Obama administration has acknowledged difficulty persuading Latinos to sign up for coverage under the law.
The Gallup data do not show a disproportionately high rate of decline among younger Americans, a key target of the health law. Youth enrollment in the law is treated as a proxy for healthy customers, a key concern for insurers who are forbidden as of Jan. 1 from denying coverage to sick people.
About 28% of the 8 million in private exchange plans are ages 18 to 34, the government said in a report last week.
The Gallup findings are based on a random telephone survey of 14,704 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.
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