Study: Obamacare Could Be Responsible for 5.4 Million Newly Insured Americans

The data is the first attempt to estimate the effect of the Affordable Care Act on the nation’s uninsured.

MIAMI - JANUARY 18: Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo, Chief of General Internal Medicine University of Miami, conducts a checkup on Juan Gonzalez at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, as the United States House Republicans in Washington, DC were poised to approve a bill repealing the health care law that last year was signed into law overhauling the U.S. health care system on January 18, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Dr. Carrasquillo said that anyone that wants to roll back the gains made by the overhaul of the health care law should spend one morning in a public hospital and you would not want to repeal the bill. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Clara Ritger
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Clara Ritger
April 3, 2014, 9:21 a.m.

A new study finds 5.4 mil­lion un­in­sured Amer­ic­ans have gained health cov­er­age since Septem­ber, the first es­tim­ate of how many of the na­tion’s un­in­sured are be­ne­fit­ing from Obama­care.

The per­cent of un­in­sured Amer­ic­ans fell to 15.2 per­cent in March from 17.9 per­cent in Septem­ber, the study says.

The data comes from the latest Health Re­form Mon­it­or­ing Sur­vey, fun­ded by the Robert Wood John­son Found­a­tion, an or­gan­iz­a­tion fo­cused on pub­lic health, and con­duc­ted by the Urb­an In­sti­tute, a so­cial- and eco­nom­ic-policy think tank.

“The 15 per­cent drop in un­in­sur­ance among adults since Septem­ber re­veals a very prom­ising start for the ACA’s key cov­er­age-ex­pan­sion pro­vi­sions,” said Shar­on Long, an Urb­an In­sti­tute health eco­nom­ist and the co­ordin­at­or of its Health Re­form Mon­it­or­ing Sur­vey, in a press re­lease. “One can ex­pect even more sig­ni­fic­ant changes as the end-of-March surge in en­roll­ments is ac­coun­ted for.”

Be­cause 17.5 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans were un­in­sured as of Decem­ber, the re­search­ers at­trib­ute the sig­ni­fic­ant drop in the per­cent un­in­sured to ramped-up Obama­care en­roll­ment in early 2014.

States that ex­pan­ded Medi­caid had lower un­in­sured rates than states that did not, the re­search­ers found. Some 12.4 per­cent of res­id­ents in states that ex­pan­ded Medi­caid re­mained un­in­sured, com­pared with 18.1 per­cent in states that did not.

The total num­ber of un­in­sured who gained cov­er­age in the Af­ford­able Care Act’s health in­sur­ance ex­changes could go up, be­cause most of the sur­vey was com­pleted in early March and does not in­clude the last-minute surge of sign-ups, the re­search­ers ad­ded.

The sur­vey is con­duc­ted quarterly among a na­tion­ally rep­res­ent­at­ive sample of roughly 7,500 adults, ac­cord­ing to the press re­lease.

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