Tags: obamacare | enrollment

Obamacare Signups Resilient, Despite Trump Paring It Back

Image: Obamacare Signups Resilient, Despite Trump Paring It Back
(AP)

By    |   Monday, 25 December 2017 02:12 PM

Despite President Donald Trump's incessant attacks on the Affordable Care Act and an enrollment period that was only half as long as previous ones and not as well funded, Obamacare showed its resilience this year as a surprisingly high 8.8 million people signed up under the law, just short of the 9.2 million who did so in 2016, The Hill reported Monday.

"The ACA seems to have more lives than your neighborhood cat," Kaiser Family Foundation health policy expert Larry Levitt told The Hill. "It's a smaller and less functional program than supporters had originally hoped, but it's still doing the job of [keeping] the uninsured rate at the lowest level ever."

Although some Republicans continue to push for repeal and replace of the act after their failed attempt in 2017, important GOP figures such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., indicate that would be difficult, especially with a reduced 51-49 GOP majority in the Senate, and say it could be time to move on to other issues.

Republicans did, however, deal a major blow to Obamacare earlier this month by, as part of the tax bill, getting rid of the individual mandate that requires people to buy insurance.

Trump said with the mandate gone, Obamacare had already "essentially" been repealed, the Independent reported.

Most experts, however, do not agree it will be a death blow to the law, according to The Hill.

Ironically, experts say other Trump's efforts to harm Obamacare actually helped boost enrollment.

When the president cut off key payments to insurers, they made up for the lost revenue by raising premiums, but cleverly used the structure of Obamacare to increase prices only on certain plans. That in turn boosted government subsidies that help people afford insurance, enticing more to actually buy coverage.

Others speculate all the publicity Trump gave the affordable Care Act, even if it was negative, helped make people more aware what was available to them.

In a possible reversal of fortunes, McConnell told NPR that Congress might actually work in a bipartisan manner to stabilize the law next year.

However, opposition from conservatives might be enough to prevent that from happening.

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Despite President Donald Trump's incessant attacks on the Affordable Care Act and an enrollment period that was only half as long as previous ones and not as well funded,
obamacare, enrollment
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2017-12-25
Monday, 25 December 2017 02:12 PM
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