The National Health Interview Survey found the number of Americans without health insurance coverage “dropped significantly” this year, reports the International Business Times. The number of uninsured people stands at 13%, down from 16% in 2010. This comes months after President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended coverage in January.
The findings, released this week by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), show 3.8 million more people have health insurance compared with 2013. Adults (18-64) were three times more likely to be uninsured than children and people with high school diplomas were more likely to have insurance than those without high school education.
Supporters of the health care act claim the findings support the view that Obamacare has made immediate improvements to healthcare in the US, while others say it’s too early to tell. “Regardless of what you think of the A.C.A., there should be no doubt at this point that the law is increasing the number of people insured,” Larry Levitt, a director at the Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told the New York Times.
States which extended Medicaid saw a sharper drop in the number of uninsured, than those states which did not. This reflects the broad uptake of the Medicaid programme since the law took effect.
“This is really a three-year process of implementation,” Jonathan Gruber, an economist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose work was used in shaping the law, told the New York Times. “Trying to draw strong conclusions from one quarter of one year is impossible.”
Earlier this month the federal government predicted the number of uninsured would drop from 45 million in 2012 to 23 million by 2023 because of the ACA, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary.
“Health care costs are increasing at a slower rate thanks to the Affordable Care Act,” Marilyn Tavenner, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a statement. “The dramatic decrease in the number of uninsured Americans is a win for our country and its economy in the future.”