More young people have health insurance since health care reform legislation was passed last year.

Story highlights

NEW: The provision was also supported by GOP, a John Boehner spokesman says

The measure covering dependents up to 26 generally hasn't been a source of dispute

The new law lets people stay on their parents' health insurance through age 26

Young adults are traditionally least likely to be insured, the government says

Atlanta CNN  — 

About 2.5 million young people have received health insurance coverage as a result of health care reform measures that President Barack Obama signed into law last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.

The Obama administration trumpeted the figure as a sign that the controversial legislation is succeeding.

About 2.5 million more people, aged 19 to 25, have health insurance than had it before the law took effect because of a provision that lets young adults remain on their parents’ insurance plans through age 26, the agency’s National Center for Health Statistics said.

“Moms and dads around the country can breathe a little easier knowing their children are covered,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

Young adults have traditionally been the age group least likely to have health insurance, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The policy extending dependent coverage up to age 26 took effect for plan renewals beginning in September 2010.

The new estimates show that by the following June, the percentage of insured young people in that age group rose from 64% to 73%, Health and Human Services said. Based on census figures, that percentage change equates to about 2.5 million young people, the agency said.

Obama signed the health care reform package into law in March 2010 after the legislation made it through Congress with no Republican support.

GOP leaders argued the bill creates a government bureaucracy, burdens small business owners, and will prove costly.

The measure involving coverage for dependents up to age 26 has generally not been a source of dispute.

“This is the result of a bipartisan policy change that was also in our alternative – there was no reason it had to be enacted as part of a job-killing government takeover of health care,” Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said Wednesday.

CNN’s Josh Levs and Tom Cohen contributed to this report.