At least 5.4 million people without health insurance have obtained coverage since last September—and that number will likely climb in coming weeks, a new survey found.
But even a surge of Obamacare exchange enrollments in March—the majority of which weren't captured by the survey—will probably still leave the United States several millions of people shy of a recently revised government projection that 13 million previously uninsured people would have coverage by the end of this year.
Nonetheless, "This is a great result, it's really exciting, it's really encouraging," said Katherine Hempstead, director of coverage for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The organization helped fund the survey, which was conducted by researchers from the nonpartisan Urban Institute, and questioned 7,500 adults ages 18 to 64.
Still, Hempstead said, "it's really too early to say" if the trend is strong enough to reach the Congressional Budget Office's estimate of 13 million newly insured people by Dec. 31.
"There's still a lot uninsured people out there," she noted. Experts estimate that between 35 million and 40 million Americans currently lack health insurance.
Changes in the uninsured rate are being closely watched by both supporters and critics of Obamacare, since the law's main goal is to reduce the number of people without health coverage.