Gallup: Percentage of Uninsured Americans Higher Now Than in 2008

Susan Jones | March 10, 2014 | 6:42am EDT
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( - Defenders of Obamacare will point to a new Gallup poll showing that the percentage of Americans without health insurance continues to fall -- to 15.9 percent so far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

But compare the most recent percentages with those posted by Gallup in 2008, when 14.8 percent of Americans lacked health insurance coverage.

In fact, as Gallup has previously reported, "The number of uninsured was generally below 15% in 2008 until it began to increase in November of that year, coincident with the worst of the economic crisis."

The latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index notes that the uninsured rate "continues to decline after the requirement to have health insurance went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014." Gallup concludes that the drop "could be" the result of Obamacare.

The latest poll also shows that the percentage of Americans who get insurance through a current or former employer fell nearly two points so far in the first quarter of 2014 to 43.4 percent from 45.5 percent.

On the other hand, more Americans (18.1%) now say their primary health insurance coverage is through a plan fully paid for by themselves or a family member compared with at the end of 2013 (17.2%). The percentage who say they are covered primarily through Medicaid is also up slightly -- 0.2 percent -- likely because some states have chosen to expand Medicaid coverage, Gallup said.

Poll results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2-Feb. 28, 2014, with a random sample of 28,396 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

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