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Survey: Nearly 9 in 10 US adults now have health insurance

Published:Tuesday | April 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Underlining a change across the nation, nearly nine out of 10 adults now said they have health insurance, according to an extensive survey released yesterday.

As recently as 2013, slightly more than eight out of 10 had coverage.

Whether the new number from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index turns out to be a high-water mark for President Barack Obama's health-care law, or a milestone on the path towards his goal of getting virtually all US residents covered, remains to be seen.

The law's future is still up in the air and will turn on factors ranging from an upcoming Supreme Court decision on consumer subsidies to actions by Republican leaders in states opposed to Medicaid expansion.

The Gallup-Healthways survey found that the share of adults who lack insurance dropped to 11.9 per cent for the first three months of this year, the lowest level since that survey began its tracking in 2008. The latest update overlaps with the period when the health law's second sign-up season was winding down.

Coverage gains from 2014-2015 translate to about 3.6 million fewer adults uninsured since the fall, before open enrollment got under way, according to Gallup.

"The Affordable Care Act had three major objectives: increase coverage; slow the rate of increase in costs; and improve health," said Dan Witters, research director for the poll. "The first one is clearly a win. Coverage is increasing; there is no question about it."

On balance, an estimated 14.75 million adults have gained coverage since the fall of 2013 when the law's first open enrollment season was about to begin, according to Gallup.