The number of uninsured Americans fell 8 percent during the first three months of 2014, thanks to 3.8 million uninsured individuals gaining insurance, according to the Center for Disease Control. Put another way, the uninsured rate dropped from 20.4 percent to 18.4 percent among adults ages 18-64.
This marks the first government study on health insurance after insurance through the health care law kicked in on January 1 and, as The New York Times notes, the numbers match up with previous independent surveys.
The important thing to note is that this survey is only through the end of March, meaning it doesn't account for the surge of procrastinators who took advantage of the two week special enrollment period in early April.
But, health interview survey results out 9/16 will be from the 1st quarter, before the March enrollment surge. (6/9)— Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) September 15, 2014
Levitt, the senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, noted that the CDC's next survey, out in December, will be "much more interesting in assessing" the Affordable Care Act's effect on the uninsured rate.
Speaking of overly complicated survey results, the Census Bureau is set to release its own survey on the number of uninsured. As far as Obamacare is concerned, these numbers are next to useless for two reasons. First, they measure 2013, before insurance started on January 1.
Second, the bureau announced earlier this year that it was changing the way it conducts its health insurance survey, to the point that its results won't be comparable to previous studies. That means 2013 will still be a baseline for pre-Obamacare numbers, but 2012 and earlier won't.
The bottom line is that the start of Obamacare enrollment coincided with a noticeable drop in the number of uninsured Americans, something several private studies have shown over the last few months. But we're still several months away from a government study that gives us a complete picture of the health care law's effects.