We've heard a lot about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, over the last year or so and, depending on where you heard it, the news might have been good or bad. But if you believe in the Gallup Poll, then it's good news that only 13.4% of adult Americans are still uninsured in April, down from a peak of 18% in the third quarter of 2013 before the ACA's new insurance exchanges opened.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, these exchanges enrolled 8 million individuals in private insurance plans and more than 4.8 million others have enrolled in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program in that time period.
The Gallup survey notes that some groups are doing better than others in getting insured. The uninsurance rate for blacks dropped the most, falling 7.1% to 13.8% since the fourth quarter of 2013. The rate for Hispanics dropped 5.5% to 33.2% during that period, but it's still the highest uninsured rate for any demographic group.
The uninsurance rate for individuals in the 18-25 age range is 19%, down 4.5 points from the fourth quarter of 2013, while uninsurance for those in the 35-64 age group fell 4.8% to 13.2% in April. If a large number of young adults continue to remain uninsured, premiums could go up for everyone next year — unless more become insured and thereby help to subsidize older, less healthy Americans.
In any case, we are making progress. For those who are now insured who weren't before, a tremendous weight has been lifted and access to health care for all Americans is no longer just a dream. It is possible.