Pete Marovich / for NBC News
Healthcare navigators assist customers as they try to sign up for health insurance. Obamacare has cut the rate of people without health insurance to 13.4 percent, a new Gallup survey finds.
The rate of people going without health insurance has fallen to 13.4 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll. It’s the lowest rate since 2008.
The report credits the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The Obama administration says more than 8 million Americans have signed up for health insurance for 2014 on the new online exchanges, which offer a batch of new private insurance plans, heavily subsidized for most people.
“The uninsured rate peaked at 18 percent in the third quarter of 2013, but has consistently declined since then,” Gallup said in a statement.
“This downward trend in the uninsured rate coincided with the health insurance marketplace exchanges opening in October 2013, and accelerated as the March 31 deadline to purchase health insurance coverage approached — and passed — for most uninsured Americans.”
Minorities made the most gains, Gallup finds in its survey of more than 14,000 people.
"The rate dropped more among blacks than any other demographic group, falling 7.1 percentage points to 13.8 percent,” Gallup says. “Although the percentage of uninsured Hispanics, at 33.2 percent, is down 5.5 points since the end of 2013, this rate is still the highest by far across key demographic groups."
Gallup has said probably 7.26 million but perhaps as many as 9.9 million people got health insurance since the last quarter of 2013. They’ve been able to buy it on the exchanges, through employers or via others means, and many states have also expanded the Medicaid health insurance plan.
There are various estimates of how many Americans lack health insurance. The Census Bureau estimates that 47 million Americans went without health insurance last year, more than 15 percent of the population. The Affordable Care Act seeks to change that by providing federally subsidized insurance on the online exchanges.
First published May 5 2014, 2:35 PM
Maggie Fox is senior health writer for NBCNews.com and TODAY.com, writing top news on health policy, medical treatments and disease.
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She's a former managing editor for healthcare and technology at National Journal and global health and science editor for Reuters based in Washington, D.C. and London.
She's reported for news agencies, radio, newspapers, magazines and television from across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe covering news ranging from war to politics and, of course, health and science. Her reporting has taken Maggie to Lebanon, Syria and Libya; to China, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Pakistan; to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia and to Ireland and Northern Ireland and across the rest of Europe.
Maggie has won awards from the Society of Business Editors and Writers, the National Immunization Program, the Overseas Press Club and other organizations. She's done fellowships at Harvard Medical School, the National Institutes of Health and the University of Maryland.