Uninsured rate drops to lowest since 2008

A Gallup poll reported the population of uninsured Americans has dropped to 13.4 percent, the lowest since 2008.
Gallup and the Obama administration credit the Affordable Care Act.

More than eight million have signed up for insurance through Obamacare online exchanges, NBC News reported.

“The uninsured rate peaked at 18 percent in the third quarter of 2013,” Gallup stated, “but has consistently declined since then.”

Gallup stated anywhere from 7.26 to 9.9 million people got health insurance since the last quarter of 2013.

They have been able to purchase it through Obamacare exchanges, their employers or other means.

Many states have also expanded Medicaid, opening the door for many who do not qualify under standard Medicaid, NBC News reported.

The Census Bureau still estimated that 47 million Americans were uninsured last year.

This is more than 15 percent of the U.S. population, NBC News reported.

The Affordable Care Act remains unpopular, and the Obama Administration has been citing the Gallup survey as evidence of Obamacare’s effectiveness.

Gallup’s findings were based on a random survey of over 14,000 adults.

It had a margin of error of plus or minus one percentage point, Crain’s Chicago Business said.

The Gallup report did not show a particularly high rate in the decline of uninsured young adults.

People aged 18-34 were a key target of Obamacare as they are generally healthier and could offset the cost of elderly Obamacare users with preexisting conditions.

Insurers were forbidden from excluding those with preexisting conditions on Jan. 1. Twenty-eight percent of Obamacare enrollees were aged 18-34, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

14.2 percent of Virginians under 65 are uninsured. Almost 80 percent are U.S. citizens, 46.6 percent are part of families with at least one full-time employee and over 40 percent live below the poverty line, according to the Virginia Health Care Foundation.

Virginia has yet to expand Medicaid, and the state senate remains in a stalemate over the issue, Modern Healthcare reported.

Virginia is taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling that states can opt out of Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid.

Governor McAuliffe has considered expanding Medicaid without state senate approval.

The governors of Ohio and Kentucky have both done so to push expanded Medicaid in their states.

However, they took advantage of legal loopholes that do not exist in Virginia, Washington Post reported.

The Virginia Constitution requires the state legislature approve any and all action.

If McAuliffe follows through, he could create a toxic political environment for himself, one that he is in no way assured of overcoming.

He would also raise the kind of questions regarding executive power and the rule of law that have been increasingly cropping up in Washington.

Both state governors and the president have been looking for ways to get legislation through without approval from Congress or state legislature in the wake of frequent stalemates or threats of shutdown, Washington Post reported.
McAuliffe’s administration has been consulting with lawyers, legislators and healthcare policy experts to explore the possibilities.

University of Virginia legal scholar A.E. Dick Howard said to the Washington Post, “I don’t know what the legal authority would be frankly.”

-Dionna Cheatham ’15, Junior Politics/Opinions Editor

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