The Good and Bad News for Obamacare Enrollment

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The Trump administration announced Friday that 9.2 million people signed up for insurance through ObamaCare for 2017 in the 39 states that use the federal HealthCare.gov platform. That means both good and bad news for Obamacare enrollment this year.

The total appears to be slightly below the 9.6 million sign-ups for those states from last year. Democrats have argued the Trump administration canceling outreach ads in the final week hurt enrollment.

Still, enrollment appeared to hold fairly steady even as Republicans look to repeal the law.

The Trump administration did not release enrollment numbers for all 50 states, so it is not clear how the nationwide sign-up numbers compare to the Obama administration’s target of 13.8 million sign-ups across all 50 states.

The administration said it would release more information on nationwide enrollment in March.

Officials framed the numbers by highlighting negative points about ObamaCare, an obvious contrast with the Obama administration.

“Obamacare has failed the American people, with one broken promise after another,” Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Matt Lloyd said in a statement accompanying the numbers.

“As noted in the report today from [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services], premiums in the ACA marketplace have increased 25 percent while the number of insurers has declined 28 percent over the past year,” he added.

“We look forward to providing relief to those who are being harmed by the status quo and pursuing patient-centered solutions that will work for the American people.”

Democrats pointed to a drop-off in sign-ups at the end of the enrollment period as evidence that the Trump administration’s cancelation of ads hurt sign-ups. Almost 700,000 people signed up in the last week in 2016, while about 376,000 people signed up in the last two weeks this year.

“Open Enrollment was a success, and it would have been even higher without the Trump Administration’s efforts to suppress enrollment,” said Leslie Dach, a former top Obama administration health official now directing an anti-repeal group called Protect Our Care.

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) argued that there is more to the story than just the sign-up numbers.

“The enrollment numbers released today only tell a fraction of Obamacare’s disappointing story – for instance the fact that these numbers are the result of a law that forces Americans to sign up for insurance they don’t want or need,” Brady said in a statement.

“These numbers also don’t show that costs are soaring, access to the care people want is shrinking, choices of insurers are dwindling, and taxes are rising.”

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.

Publishing

Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.

Location

Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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