Obamacare reduces uninsured rate to lowest since 2008

Obamacare had brought down the percentage of US adults without health insurance to its lowest since 2008 even as the law remained unpopular with the public, according to separate surveys.

The percentage of adults in the US without health insurance was down to 13.4 per cent in April from 15.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, polling firm Gallup said, crediting the reduction to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.

Around 8 million Americans signed up for private health plans using the new insurance exchanges of the law. The uninsured rate was the lowest in Gallup's survey since the 14.4 per cent reported in the second half of 2008.

Obama administration officials point to Gallup survey as evidence of the law's effect, however, the government had not come out with an estimate of any fall in the uninsured rate, or given figures as to how many people who signed up in 2014 did not have insurance last year.

According to a separate survey released today, despite gains in coverage, the law remained unpopular with a majority of Americans.

''The recent surge in sign-ups for the new health-care exchanges has had little impact on public opinion about the Affordable Care Act,'' the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press said in its survey. ''In fact, the share disapproving of the law is as high as it ever has been in the four-year history of the law.''

The uninsured rate had fallen from a peak of 18 per cent last October.

According to Gallup, the steep drop ''coincided'' with the opening of the federal and state insurance marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act, as also the expansion of the federal Medicaid program in 27 states and the District of Columbia.

As Gallup findings had noted, the uninsured rate was falling at a much faster rate in states that had expanded Medicaid.

The uninsured rate drop was even more dramatic among African-Americans (down 7.7 points) and Latinos (down 5.5 points). Lower-income US citizens (those with an income of $36,000 or less) saw a 5.5 point drop in their rate of uninsured.