Obamacare Signups Rocket Past Expectations

Despite the Trump administration's best efforts to the contrary, ACA signups have seen an early surge.

Despite the Trump administration's best efforts to the contrary, Obamacare signups have surged in the first weeks of open enrollment. According to the Hill,

Through the first 18 days, nearly 2.3 million people have signed up for insurance coverage through ObamaCare exchanges, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a number that has outpaced the same period under former President Barack Obama.

Apart from the nearly ten months of repeal attempts by Congress, Trump has cut the enrollment period in half, cut advertising and outreach funds by 90 percent, and terminated subsidy payments to insurance companies intended to reduce deductibles for low-income Americans.

It’s possible those actions have helped boost enrollment, at least in the short term. “There could be a fear factor, people going out and enrolling before more changes happen,” said Katherine Hempstead, who directs coverage programs at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The negative publicity has increased awareness a bit.”

Experts caution that early surges may not be indicative of an overall increase in signups and will continue to watch the enrollment period unfold. Initial numbers have put the administration in a tricky spot, as it has long insisted the health care law is imploding.

If the final enrollment numbers are significantly lower than in the past, it could feed into the GOP narrative that ObamaCare is failing, and bolster new congressional repeal efforts. There are high stakes for both sides in the ObamaCare fight.