The uninsured rate continues to drop as Obamacare’s March 31 enrollment deadline approaches. A new poll from Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who lack health insurance dropped more than 1% in the last few months, falling from 17.1% to 15.9% since the fourth quarter of 2013.
The uninsured rate previously had peaked at 18% in the third quarter of 2013, shortly before the new health insurance marketplaces opened.
The rate fell for nearly every demographic group over the past few months, especially for African-Americans and the poor, according to Gallup. The rate for those with an annual income below $36,000 dropped by 2.8% from the fourth quarter of 2013, while the percentage of African-Americans without health insurance fell 2.6%. The rate dropped by the smallest margin – a half of a percent – for those under 26, many of whom have already qualified for health insurance under their parents’ plans since 2010. The uninsured rate dropped by 1.6% for those between 26 and 34 years of age, and 1.7% for those between 35 and 64.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have both publicly encouraged more Americans to sign up for health insurance in the last few months. They’ve targeted young Americans in particular with appearances on shows like The Tonight Show and the pre-game coverage for the NBA All-Star Game.
Not every demographic group saw improvements. Older Americans, who already have a significantly lower uninsured rate compared to the general population, saw a slight increase in the percentage uninsured. The percentage of American 65 and older without health coverage increased from 2% to 2.2%. And while the uninsured rate for Hispanics dropped slightly – from 38.7% to 37.9% – they remained the group most likely to lack health insurance.
Although Gallup analysts do not specifically credit the Affordable Care Act with the insurance rate increase, they report the “drop could be a result of the ACA.” The Gallup survey also predicts the uninsured rate will “likely continue to fall” as the open enrollment period draws to a close in the next few weeks.
Republicans have yet to give up their campaign to repeal the law, with House Republicans scheduled to take their 51st vote to repeal or dismantle the Affordable Care Act this week. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz insisted Sunday that he believes the law can be fully repealed, telling ABC’s This Week that Republicans can repeal ”every single word” of the health reform law.