Newburgh Gazette

Sorry Trump: Obamacare Enrollment Was An Unbelievable Success!

Newburgh Gazette — December 24, 2017

By Dwayne Harmon

Stanford, with Utah Health Policy Project, said she had anticipated enrollment in Utah would drop by about 15 to 20 percent from previous year, adding she was "blown away by the numbers we saw today" — especially considering the recent Republican efforts to "sabatoge" the law.

The tally is 400,000 signups shy of the 2017 total, meaning insurers in dozens of states that use the federal HealthCare.gov website didn't see the influx of consumers needed to improve the law's economic footing.

"When the individual mandate is being repealed, that means ObamaCare is being repealed", Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

GOP lawmakers celebrated after passing a 1.5 trillion dollar tax package that slashes tax rates for large corporations and eliminates itemized deductions for most families.

Now the individual mandate, the Obamacare requirement that all Americans get health insurance or pay a fine, is gone.

Republicans had always attacked the mandate as a government intrusion into private decisions: If a law could require you to buy insurance, they asked, what else could the government force you to buy?

The level exceeds what experts thought was possible after another year of political battles over the Affordable Care Act, not to mention market problems like rising premiums and insurer exits. Congressional number-crunchers projected that if fewer healthy people sign up, it could raise premiums for remaining buyers about 10 percent.

Mr. Trump said he wants to take another whack at Obamacare in the new year, hoping to fulfill the second part of the GOP's "repeal-and-replace" mantra.

That was probably wise, because if the Democrats had made more noise about it, the public could have balked at the potential for rising premiums.

Nearly half of Pennsylvanians who signed up for Obamacare enrolled last week.

First word of the enrollment numbers came via Twitter from Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

"That would be a very good showing based on the reduction in enrollment assistance and outreach", said Maura Collinsgru, health care director for New Jersey Citizen Action, a consumer group.

"No wonder the administration scuttled their plans to release the enrollment numbers yesterday".

About 130,000 people were expected to be covered in 2018 by Intermountain Healthcare SelectHealth, while University of Utah Health Plans signed up 25,000 in the six-week open enrollment period that ended December 15, the insurers told The Salt Lake Tribune. Previous high: 4 million signing up during the week of December 13 to December 19, 2015.

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