Underlining a change across the nation, nearly nine out of 10 adults now say they have health insurance, according to an extensive survey released today. As recently as 2013, slightly more than eight out of 10 had coverage. Whether the new number from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index turns out to be a high-water mark for President Obama's health care law, or a milestone on the path toward his goal of getting virtually all US residents covered, remains to be seen. The law's future is still up in the air and will hinge on factors ranging from an upcoming Supreme Court decision on consumer subsidies to actions by Republican leaders in states opposed to Medicaid expansion.
The Gallup-Healthways survey found that the share of adults who lack insurance dropped to 11.9% for the first three months of this year, the lowest level since that survey began its tracking in 2008. Coverage gains from 2014-2015 translate to about 3.6 million fewer adults uninsured since the fall, before open enrollment got underway, according to Gallup. "The Affordable Care Act had three major objectives: increase coverage, slow the rate of increase in costs, and improve health," says the research director for the poll. "The first one is clearly a win. Coverage is increasing; there is no question about it." On balance, an estimated 14.75 million adults have gained coverage since fall 2013, when the first open enrollment was about to begin, according to Gallup.