Galluping good news

Gallup 2014-04-07

Doing some very basic algebra, a 2.4% drop in the uninsured rate from the pre-Exchange peak means roughly 7 million people in the survey population universe have insurance during the last week of the 1st quarter of 2014 than they did last fall. This is a combination of Medicaid expansion, Medicaid wood-workers, new CHIP enrollments and Exchange policies. The ten million is a net number, so it includes the negative one million or so people who had individual policies that were cancelled but who did not find a new policy on the Exchanges.

30 replies
  1. 1
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    Shouldn’t that be a 2.4% drop in the uninsured rate instead of “a 3.4% drop in the unemployment rate”?

    (Sorry, my inner editor is awake with a vengeance this morning. Blame it on the fanfic.)

  2. 2
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: corrected and updated!

  3. 3
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    What are “Medicaid wood-workers”?

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Unfortunately, my oldest is not among them (28, working poor in MO) and my youngest will be joining them next year (26, working poor in LA).

  5. 5
    geg6 says:

    Is this what they mean when they say “too big to fail”?

  6. 6
    geg6 says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo):

    Yeah, I wondered that, too. But I don’t always read every word of Richard’s posts, so I thought it might be some kind of nomenclature that I hadn’t caught.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Both Medicaid-expansion-rejectionist states? Sigh. Thanks, Justice Roberts!

  8. 8
    mai naem says:

    Are these really the final numbers? I thought the Obama numbers weren’t final numbers – I mean that they didn’t include all the state run exchanges. Also, to be perfectly honest, if this is the final number, I am a little disappointed. We’re comparing it to ’08 and we haven’t beaten ’08? I realize ’08 was the worst of the recession and that this is just the beginning of O-care, I just thought the numbers would look better. The only silver lining is that many people now have policies that are actually worth the paper they’re written on.

  9. 9
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @mai naem: This is survey data, so it is not an official final number, and honestly, there will never be an official final number, just a variety of official projections with different estimation parameters.

  10. 10
    Richard Mayhew says:

    @GHayduke (formerly lojasmo):

    Medicaid wood-workers — a term used by for people who were eligible for Medicaid under the old rules but had not signed up.

    Open enrollment for the Exchanges was a massive shock to the system, so people who never thought they were Medicaid eligible found out that they were eligible and thus “came out of the woodwork”

  11. 11
    sparrow says:

    So who are these 16% that are not insured? Can they all be stubborn red-staters? People who live under a rock? Poor bastards that got left out of medicaid expansion (but then, couldn’t they still get a bronze plan at least?)

  12. 12
    Patricia Kayden says:

    This is great news. Dems need to run on it.

  13. 13
    Cervantes says:

    @mai naem:

    Are these really the final numbers?

    No, it’s a Gallup poll.

    A relatively large poll (with a correspondingly small margin of error), but still a poll.

  14. 14
    Richard Mayhew says:


    Lots of different people:

    *foreign born nationals who don’t have appropriate documentation to be in the country.

    * Red state residents who don’t qualifty for Legacy Medicaid and can’t get on the Exchange

    * Rand-oid assholes who bleat about freedumb.

    * People who aren’t aware of the Exchanges

    * People who looked at the Exchanges and decided to go naked instead

    * People who don’t believe that the government could actually improve their lives

    * A lot of other people who just don’t know.

  15. 15
    EconWatcher says:

    @Richard Mayhew:

    Of these, the biggest concern seems to be, “* Red state residents who don’t qualifty for Legacy Medicaid and can’t get on the Exchange.”

    How big of a donut hole was created by the refusal of Republican state governments to participate in Medicaid expansion? Is there any way to reach these people without more legislation (which obviously isn’t coming anytime soon)?

    Many thanks.

  16. 16
    MomSense says:

    My friend’s husband was dragged into health insurance kicking and screaming (he thinks Obama caused the 2008 stock mkt crash on purpose to usher in soshulism). He was shocked at how affordable it is. My friend told him as a joke that they just needed to get micro-chipped to complete the process and he believed her!!

    Anyway, they signed up for medical and dental and it is going to make a huge difference for them.

  17. 17
    Pen says:

    “Red state residents who don’t qualifty for Legacy Medicaid and can’t get on the Exchange”

    My wife and I live in Wisconsin on the MN-WI border. I’m a college student and work part time with no insurance offered, she works for a corporation that, while they have insurance, it’s extremely expensive (as much as both our car payments), requires we use the worst hospital in the city, and covers only the legal minimum. Thanks to Walker’s antics we have some of the highest unsubsidized exchange rates in the nation, and it is quite literally cheaper for us to move across the border and commute to work than it would be to get insurance in this environment.

    We’re house hunting now.

  18. 18
    WaterGirl says:


    Thanks to Walker’s antics we have some of the highest unsubsidized exchange rates in the nation, and it is quite literally cheaper for us to move across the border and commute to work than it would be to get insurance in this environment.

    We’re house hunting now.

    I’m sorry. These republican governors have a lot to answer for. I seriously wonder how their family members can stand to look at them when they are so obviously hurting a whole lot of people for political reasons.

    So glad you have the ability to move, though.

  19. 19
    willard says:

    The other important metric is the number of people that went from a high deductible insurance scam to a functional insurance plan. Have any polls looked at these numbers?

  20. 20
    Ruckus says:

    They could be like the 27 yr old I work with who will “never sign up for Obamacare”. Stated that his old policy was $100/month and his new one was $236 so he’s not buying. My looking at the exchanges for CA showed me several silver policies around $236 per month for me(almost 3 times his age!), they did have subsidies but still. My big question is what the hell policy did he have that cost $100 per month last year? This sounds like an elephant to apples comparison to me.

  21. 21
    StringOnAStick says:

    @Ruckus: He probably had one of those” total crap, pays for very little once the shit hits the fan” policies, and is too blinded by O-hate to be able to see it.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:


    Straight white single men under 30 with no pre-existing conditions used to get a really good deal with health insurance, because they never went to the doctor and pretty much only had accidental injuries, so their premiums were low. Now that the risk is being spread throughout the entire population, they are paying more than they used to. Some of them (like the guy Ruckus works with) don’t realize that they were getting an artificially low price and are now whining about how unfair it all is.

  23. 23
    Ruckus says:

    So you’ve met him?

    I believe that he may just be an over exposed, under informed young person. If he isn’t working he’s on his smart phone. Also he lives at home, has a decent job and I think, believes that he is always correct, no matter the context or subject.

  24. 24
    Ruckus says:

    Both of you are most likely correct. He may have also been paying the(or some) additional cost on his parents insurance.

  25. 25
    Chris says:


    My sympathies, all of them. Florida didn’t expand it either, so anyone under… oh, $10,000 income per year or thereabouts, according to what the ACA workers showed me today – not being eligible for ACA subsidies, is SOL.

    I knew Medicaid was a bitch to get on, but I didn’t realize until I called them for information just how much of a bitch: unless you have a child, or you’re past [can’t remember the number] age, or a few other conditions, you’re not eligible. “My income is an absolute zero” is not considered sufficient reason to deserve help with your health insurance, so even though it’s supposedly the last-ditch program for the very poor, poverty is still not enough unless it’s aggravated by one of a few additional conditions. Don’t know how much of it is the program vs. just the fact that I’m in the South.

  26. 26
    Ruckus says:


  27. 27
    Ruckus says:

    The south is not the only place Medicaid is/used to be like that.
    Before the expansion, here in CA, I didn’t qualify because I’m male without certain illnesses. Poor wasn’t considered until I met the other criteria. A woman didn’t need to have the same severity of illness, but poor wasn’t enough by itself as I understood. This is partially from a friend who does get it because she has a lot of issues.
    With the expansion that has changed. What does amaze me a bit is that to get Medicare part A I have to pay out of my SS($104/month this yr). Now to get health insurance at 64 I would get, for the same SS income, if that was my only income, no cost to me Medicaid.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:


    My friend’s sister was able to get on Medicaid in Mississippi, but she has a serious seizure disorder that means she can’t work, so she was “unemployed+” for Medicaid purposes.

  29. 29
    mclaren says:

    Richard Mayhew is lying to once again.

    We’re supposed to celebrate a rate of uninsured people among the American population that is higher now than it was when Barack Obama was elected.

    This is the great victory?

    This is the triumph we’re supposed to celebrate?

    Email John Cole and beg him to get this lying superwealthy health insurance CEO off the front page.

  30. 30
    Richard Mayhew says:


    McClaren — a couple of questions about your assumptions about me.

    1) Does my family of four qualify for federal subsidies if we had to go on the Exchange. Reminder, I work, my wife works, and I have a second job as a referee.

    What do you think my job title is?

    How many people do I supervise?

    I’m curious as I know you’re assumptions are wrong, but I don’t know by how much

    2) What is the counterfactual as you seem to be neglecting the impact of a massive recession and state level austerity that gutted the legacy Medicaid non-core services to non-core populations might have on insurance rates.

Comments are closed.