Obamacare has helped nearly 10 million people to get new health insurance, and more than 4 percent of all Americans have gotten health insurance for the first time, according to a new Gallup poll.
It's the largest poll yet to assess the effects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and the findings add to what's been reported in earlier surveys and the government tally of how many people signed up through the new online exchanges.
The percentage of the U.S. population that has no health insurance has plummeted from an all-time high of 18 percent during the last quarter of 2013 to just 15 percent this past March, says Dan Witters, lead researcher for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
About half got insurance on the new state and federal online health exchanges, the survey found, and half got it through Medicaid, an employer or bought it directly from an insurance company.
In total, 9.9 million people got insurance since the last quarter of 2013, bringing the number of uninsured Americans down from 43.5 million to 36.3 million, Gallup says.
"We feel pretty comfortable attributing much of this change to the Affordable Care Act," Witters told NBC News.
The survey confirms that people started getting insurance in the last months of 2013 and really started signing up in the first three months of 2014.
The Obama administration says at least 7.5 million people signed up for private health insurance on the online, health insurance exchanges that opened up in October. It says 3 million peoplehave newly enrolled in Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance plan for people with low incomes.
Many of those who got insurance through the exchanges already had insurance. Gallup, which calls and surveys 500 different people, 350 nights a year for a total of 178,000 people annually, says 4.2 percent of Americans got a new healthcare policy using the federal and state exchanges in 2014; 2.1 percent of Americans used the exchanges to get a new policy and did not have a policy in 2013 and 1.9 percent of Americans used the exchanges to get a new policy, but it was a replacement policy for one they already had in 2013.
Gallup says people who are newly buying insurance tend to rate themselves as a little bit less healthy than the population as a whole, but not by much. About half of all of the adults Gallup surveyed said they were in excellent or very good health, compared to about 37 percent of those who said they were newly insured.