March 16, 2017

ObamaCare Not Dead Yet When12Million Have Signed for It in 2017

More than 12 million people have signed up for Obamacare so far this year, even as Republicans in Congress — backed by the president — fight to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Despite the law’s uncertain future, close to 12.2 million people have signed up for coverage since January 1, according to government figures cited by the AP. An additional 765,000 people signed up for an option called the Basic Health Plan, which is available only in New York and Minnesota, bringing the total number enrolled so far this year to almost 13 million. 

That’s on track with the Jan.-March 2016 enrollment numbers, which totaled about 12.7 million during the first three months of open enrollment but slightly lower than the Obama administration’s projection of 13.8 million for Jan.-March 2017.

But there were some key differences surrounding the program this year, which saw some notable price hikes. The marketplace standard silver plan, for example, surged almost 22 percent.

Republicans have long vowed to dismantle the plan as soon as they get the chance. On Jan. 20, just a few hours after Trump’s swearing in, he signed an Inauguration Day executive order directing his administration to begin unwinding the law.

The White House also took several steps that appeared designed to discourage enrollment, including pulling informational ads, some of which had already been paid for, during the last few weeks of the enrollment season, and discontinuing a program that emailed people to remind them to sign up before the deadline.
At the time, proponents of the ACA worried the president’s actions would dampen turnout during the last five days of the enrollment season, when the marketplace typically sees what Politico referred to as a “last-minute sign-up surge” of young procrastinators.

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