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Obamacare Hits Record High Enrollment After Biden Tweaks Trump’s Changes

Obamacare Hits Record High Enrollment After Biden Tweaks Trump’s Changes

What a difference a new president makes.

Enrollment in Obamacare health insurance plans has hit a record high this season, a clear, if rare, policy victory for President Joe Biden in his first full year in office. The official final enrollment number has yet to be tallied. But on Thursday, federal health officials noted that even before the deadline, a whopping 14.2 million people nationally had signed up for coverage in the private insurance plans sold on the government-run Obamacare exchanges. That number represents an enrollment increase of well more than 20% from the same period last year.

Obama White House/Flickr

The big surge came amid boosted financial assistance for enrollments, a wider window for sign-ups, the continuing health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 850,000 Americans, and the touting of the healthcare reform law by the President.

Thie new tally blows away the previous record for enrollment, more than 12.6 million, which occurred in 2016, the last full year President Barack Obama was in office. Obama won passage of the Affordable Care Act by Congress early in his first term and embraced the nickname Obamacare, which its detractors long have used with derision.

Open enrollment ended Saturday on — the federal government insurance plan marketplace that serves 33 states — and on most of the other states’ Affordable Care Act government-run exchanges. Charles Gaba, who operates the Obamacare enrollment news site, said the enrollment tally is “definitely a win for Biden.”

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s a very big deal,” Gaba said. “You have millions more people who have coverage, and a good 10 million or so that have it much more affordable for them.”

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Early on in his term, Trump had pushed for the then-Republican-led Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act. His administration also took steps to undercut outreach efforts that had boosted enrollment in past years and shortened the time people had to sign up for coverage.

“People across America can buy high-quality health insurance for historically low prices, thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the Affordable Care Act,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday in a statement touting the high enrollment levels. “The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to build on the success of these important laws to ensure health care is accessible to everyone who needs it,” Becerra said.


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