Three Charts Shows the Hellhole America Has Become Under Obamacare

Source: AP
Source: AP

It hasn't: The U.S. uninsured rate has dropped to its lowest point since the start of the 2008 recession as more people sign up under Obamacare's coverage mandate.

Less than 13% of Americans are uninsured, according to a Gallup poll, down from a high of 17.1% a little more than a year ago. The rate has dropped swiftly since the health insurance requirement took effect at the beginning of 2014.

Source: Gallup

The rate leveled off at 13.4% following the end of the open enrollment period in April 2014. The new enrollment period, for 2015 coverage, began in November and will last through Feb. 15.

Digging deeper: There's more good news underneath those numbers. Uninsured rates dropped the most among black, Hispanic and low-income Americans, according to Gallup.

Source: Gallup

Less than 24% of adults making less than $36,000 a year were uninsured at the end of 2014, compared with nearly 31% one year earlier. Black adults saw a similar drop, from 20.9% at the end of 2013 to 13.9% most recently.

Uninsured rates among Hispanic Americans remain very high, despite a relatively large drop. Nearly 39% were uninsured at the end of 2013, compared to 32.4% most recently. That's why uninsured Hispanics have become the most important targeted demographic for Obamacare.

Public opinion remains negative: Poll results show that Obamacare still isn't popular among Americans. While recent polls vary widely — Rasmussen put the approval rate at 46% earlier this month, the Associated Press has it at 29% in December, with plenty in between — RealClearPolitics' poll average puts support at 39.2% and opposition at 51.5%.

These numbers don't tell the whole story, though. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month found that people are much more supportive of individual aspects of Obamacare despite being opposed to the law in the abstract. A majority find it favorable, for instance, when told that the requirement doesn't apply if coverage would take up too large a percentage of someone's income or that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Obamacare's success is also partially tied to economic growth — if more Americans have jobs, more Americans will receive health insurance from their employer, which also leads to a decline in uninsured rates. On the flipside, offering government health care plans can help people feel more comfortable leaving their jobs to seek better employment elsewhere.

The big question is the same for both health care coverage and unemployment numbers: Can the recent success continue?

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Matt Connolly

Matt has written for Mother Jones, the Washington Examiner and Chicago Public Radio among many others. He's a resident of Washington, D.C., but much like Bruce Springsteen and pork roll he is a product of New Jersey.

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