Health-care uninsured rate at low

inspector-glassThe U.S. uninsured rate for health care fell to 11.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015, reflecting sharp declines among minorities and lower-income groups, researchers say.

The 11.4 percent mark for adults is the lowest recorded since the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index began in 2008.

The uninsured rate has dropped nearly six percentage points since the fourth quarter of 2013, just before the requirement for Americans to carry health insurance took effect under the Affordable Care Act. Those without approved health insurance must pay fines for non-participation, the first of which came due in April.

The decline in the uninsured rate surfaced in the first quarter, after the Feb. 15 deadline to purchase health insurance.

The uninsured rate has continued to fall as Obamacare rolled out, offering subsidies and assistance to those who have gone without health coverage. The Affordable Care Act also leveled the playing field for people who struggled to buy insurance in the past, such as those with serious pre-existing medical conditions.

“The sharpest declines have occurred among Hispanics, blacks and lower-income Americans,” Gallup-Healthways said in announcing the health insurance poll results.

The survey reflected interviews with 44,000 interviews with U.S. adults from April 1 to June 30, 2015. Researchers spoke with adults aged 18 to 64, using the age cutoff for Medicare coverage.

Enrollment for 2016 coverage begins Nov. 1.

Meanwhile, a Gallup poll finds that support for the Affordable Care Act is about 47 percent, with Americans as likely to disapprove as to approve of the law.

The Obamacare survey, done just after the Supreme Court ruling upholding the law’s subsidies in all states, reflects a significant rise from the 37 percent approval rating recorded just after the midterm elections of last fall.

“Since November, approval of the ACA has increased among all key demographic groups, with the changes for each group generally within a few points of the overall 10-point increase,” Gallup researchers said. Women and non-whites continue to be stronger supporters of Obamacare than white men. Along political lines, 83 percent of Democrats and 14 percent of Republicans said they approved of the Affordable Care Act.

The researchers said of the shifts in sentiment:

Americans’ views of the ACA have improved in recent months, but because they were more negative about it previously, now they are merely divided in their assessments of it. The Supreme Court’s decision may have helped boost Americans’ views of the law, giving it further legitimacy.

Gallup spoke with 2,013 adults, aged 18 and older, in the period July 1-3 and 5, 2015.

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