'Obamacare' seeks to make health insurance coverage available to a broad cross-section of Americans, for whom health care is often too expensive, is not offered through their employer, or is otherwise inaccessible. Ever since key portions of this Affordable Care Act took effect, the number of Americans without health insurance has dropped by 16.4 million, officials declared Monday. This has been the largest reduction in uninsured individuals in the last four decades. The federal government hailed the data as President Barack Obama's administration prepared to commemorate next week the fifth anniversary of the signing of this law.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Health and Human Services Secretary, said, "When it comes to the key metrics of affordability, access, and quality, the evidence shows that the Affordable Care Act is working, and families, businesses and taxpayers are better off as a result. 14.1 million adults gained insurance since the first open enrollment period in October 2013 through March 4 of this year, leading the adult uninsured rate to drop from 20.3% to 13.2% during that period."
Under the law's more popular provisions, another 2.3 million young adults gained coverage from 2010 by being allowed to remain on a parent's plan until 26-years of age. Obamacare also provided an expansion of Medicaid, the social health care program for the poor, which most of the 50 US states accepted.
American pollster Gallup cites different figures for the drop in the rate. It said the US uninsured rate dipped from 18% in the third quarter of 2013 to 12.3% by the end of February 2015, quoting its Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index.
The government's announcement comes as the US Supreme Court weighs the fate of the Affordable Care Act. The case challenges the legality of the law's subsidies. The narrow question before the court is whether some 7 million people who signed up for Obamacare via the government's website are actually entitled to tax subsidies that make the coverage affordable. A decision by the high court is expected in June this year.