'Truly remarkable': Trump's meddling barely slowed down Obamacare sign-ups at all
- About 8.8 million people enrolled in Obamacare plans for 2018 through the federal Healthcare.gov marketplace.
- That was only slightly less than the 9.2 million people that enrolled last year, despite attempts to undermine the law by the Trump administration.
- The number does not include the 12 state-run exchanges, many of which have longer sign-up periods.
Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, said Thursday that 8.8 million people enrolled in insurance plans for 2018 through the federal Healthcare.gov exchange.
Even without its namesake in office, the law known as Obamacare barely slowed down in 2017.
The number was particularly surprising given the Trump administration's attempts to meddle in the sign-up period. It dramatically slashed the budget for outreach and advertising and cut the enrollment window to just six weeks rather than three months.There was a significant surge in the last few days of enrollment. As of December 9, just a few days before the December 15 deadline, 4.6 million were people enrolled. CMS said more than 4.1 million people, including those who automatically enrolled, signed up in the final week.
According to the report, 6.4 million enrollees were returning customers renewing coverage up from 6.2 million last year. New enrollees dropped to around 2.4 million from 3 million last year.The total does not include state-run marketplaces, many of which still have ongoing sign-up periods.Health policy experts were taken aback by the numbers, as the total of enrollees exceeded initial expectations. Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy think thank, called the number "truly remarkable."
"I confess to being very surprised that ACA marketplace enrollment is down only slightly," Levitt tweeted. "That didn't seem possible with a 90% reduction in outreach, an enrollment period cut in half, and a constant refrain that the program is dead."
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