The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Gallup: "Uninsured Rate Sinks to 13.4%...Significant Decline in Uninsured Rate!" Really Gallup? Really?

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Gallup released a poll yesterday with the blaring headline, “In U.S., Uninsured Rate Sinks to 13.4% in Second Quarter; Significant Decline in Uninsured Rate Across Age Groups Since the End of 2013.”  But before the Obama administration and those that support Obamacare take credit for this supposed sharp decrease in the uninsured, one needs to think about the time period that Gallup reviewed.  The polling organization admits that the figure “is the lowest quarterly average recorded since Gallup and Healthways began tracking the percentage of uninsured Americans in 2008.”

Has Gallup forgotten that the recession started in late 2007 and ended in 2009?  (For the millions who have given up looking for work, the recession has never ended but I digress.)  Considering that approximately 55 percent of all Americans have employer-based health insurance, and that 68.2 percent of those that are employed between the ages of 18-64 receive their insurance either through their employer or another person’s employer, it should not be surprising that the number of uninsured went up when unemployment went up.  In 2010, the peak of the unemployed was at an average 9.6 percent and the uninsured was at 16.4 percent.

But, as the unemployment rate started to fall, the uninsured continued to climb and reached its peak of 18.0 percent in the fall of 2013.  Why?


Bureau of Labor and Statistics Data – Percent of Unemployed / 2008-2014

It’s really very simple and perhaps Gallup just forgot about all news concerning Obamacare in the fall of last year.  Millions of people, primarily those that purchased their health insurance in the individual market, such as the self-employed, began to lose their insurance plans in 2013 because they did not meet Obamacare’s overly-restrictive and expansive mandates.  What are the mandates that are caused insurance premiums in the individual market to increase on average by 49 percent between 2013 and 2014?  Single young men and menopausal women, for example, must carry insurance policies that cover maternity and pediatric care. Mental health and substance-use disorder services must be purchased, even if an individual has never had a mental health or substance abuse problem.

Perhaps Gallup forgot that many people became uninsured because they could not purchase a plan through the malfunctioning federal and state exchanges, right up and into the new year.  It was because they were forced to purchase an Obamacare compliant policy that caused the precipitous drop in uninsured to occur between the 4th quarter in 2013 and 1st quarter in 2014.

Obamacare caused the uninsured rate to climb to 18 percent, now Gallup wants to credit it for dropping the uninsured rate to 13.4 percent.

The only problem is the uninsured rate was 14.6 percent in 2008, before Obamacare was even draft legislation.  In other words, Obamacare caused a complete upheaval in our healthcare system, at a cost of $41 billion to taxpayers in 2014, with an estimated cost of 1.5 trillion by 2024, to drop the uninsured rate by 1.2 percent.

That’s a whole lot of money that could have been better spent with much better healthcare results for all Americans.

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