Poll finds drop in uninsured rate

by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

A closely watched survey says the nation's uninsured rate dropped modestly this month as the major coverage expansion under President Barack Obama's health care law got underway.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that the uninsured rate for U.S. adults dropped by 1.2 percentage points in January, to 16.1 percent. The rate declined across major groups.

The biggest change was for unemployed people, a drop of 6.7 percentage points. That was followed by a 2.6 percentage-point decline for nonwhites.

The survey, based on interviews with more than 9,000 people, could be the first evidence that core provisions of Obama's much-debated law have started delivering on the promise of access for Americans.

The overall drop in the uninsured rate would translate to approximately 2 million to 3 million people gaining coverage.

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