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.
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.