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THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - August 13, 2015

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*-- Federal report finds uninsured Americans on the decline --*

WASHINGTON - The rate of Americans without health insurance dropped in the first three months of 2015 from 36 million to 29 million, marking a seven million person decline from all of 2014, the National Center for Health Statistics said.

A new report from the center, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said for adults between the ages of 18 to 64, the uninsured rate dropped from 16.3 percent in 2014 to 13 percent from January to March 2015. At the same time, there was an increase in private coverage, from 67.3 percent to 70.4 percent. Overall, there's been a decline of 15.8 million since 2013.

While the report does not link the decline to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, it does reflect the time period that the federally mandated health insurance was put into place. The data may go far to boost Democrat claims the law is working, but will likely do little to change Republican criticism.

"Our report doesn't address any reasons" behind the drop in the uninsured, lead author Robin Cohen said. "We're a policy-neutral research organization."

The report shows gains for various groups in the first quarter of this year:

Among children, the percentage with private coverage increased from 52.6 percent in 2013 to 56.3 percent in the first 3 months of 2015.

Among those under age 65, the percentage with private coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or state-based exchanges increased from 2.5 percent, or by 6.7 million people, in the last three months.

In the first three months of the year, adults aged 25 to 34 were twice as likely as adults age 45 to 64 to not have health insurance (18.3 percent compared to 9 percent). Adults aged 18 to 24 and those aged 35 to 44 had similar rates of uninsurance, 15.4 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

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