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US Uninsured Rate Falls to Lowest Point Since 2008

Image: People Rush to Beat Healthcare Signup Deadline
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.Pete Marovich / for NBC News

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.