Efforts by the Trump administration to thwart HealthCare.gov enrollment apparently had an effect.
Insurance sign-ups at the federal marketplace website fell nearly 50 percent in the final two weeks of the 2017 enrollment period compared with 2016, according to new figures from the Trump administration.
In 2016, nearly 700,000 people got coverage through HealthCare.gov in the last two weeks of open enrollment.
That number fell to just over 376,000 this year after Trump pulled $5 million in advertising and issued a confusing executive order that hinted there would be no penalty for people who didn’t obtain coverage.
“The Trump Administration’s efforts to suppress enrollment clearly had an impact,” said an e-mail from Ben Wakana, a former HHS spokesman in the Obama administration. “When President Obama left office, enrollment was outpacing last year. Since taking office, the new Administration deliberately sabotaged the law: pulled down advertising, threatened outreach efforts, and sewed uncertainty about consumer protections.”
Obamacare has failed the American people, with one broken promise after another.
Matt Lloyd, spokesman for Health and Human Services
Nearly 9.2 million Americans signed up for 2017 marketplace insurance on HealthCare.gov during the three-month enrollment period that ended Feb. 1, the Trump administration reported Friday.
Another 2.8 million had signed up on state-run marketplaces thru December 24, according to federal figures. That means total marketplace enrollment will likely top 12 million.
A press release from HHS suggested the lower HealthCare.gov enrollment numbers were the result of higher premiums and the loss of insurers from many markets. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
“Obamacare has failed the American people, with one broken promise after another,” said a statement Friday from HHS spokesman Matt Lloyd. “We look forward to providing relief to those who are being harmed by the status quo and pursuing patient-centered solutions that will work for the American people.”
Around the country, the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area logged the some of the largest signups with nearly 636,000 obtaining coverage during the three-month enrollment period.
Dallas/Fort Worth tallied nearly 342,000 signups, while 182,000 enrolled in Charlotte, North Carolina, and nearly 150,000 signed up in the Raleigh/Durham (Fayetteville) area.
Nearly 100,000 enrolled in the Kansas City area; 53,660 enrolled in Columbus, Georgia; 22,811 in Lexington, Kentucky, and 20,407 in Macon, Georgia.
Leslie Dach, a former adviser to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell in the Obama administration, said the Trump administration’s actions may have cut overall enrollment by 500,000 people.
“Open enrollment was a success, and it would have been even higher without the Trump Administration’s efforts to suppress enrollment,” said a statement from Dach, who heads Protect Our Care, a coalition of groups working against repeal of the Affordable Care Act. “Despite that, Americans continued to enroll in the final weeks, proving that there is considerable demand for quality and affordable coverage.”
But House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., said 12 million enrollees doesn’t mean the ACA is working.
“We have a new class of uninsured patients under this law – one where folks are priced out of actually using their coverage because of sky-high premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs,” Walden said in a statement. “As we work to repeal this one-size-fits-all law, we will institute reforms that put patients first and rebuild our health care markets.”
Obamacare signups around the country
Here are the enrollment numbers for some of the markets around the country for the enrollment period from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31.
Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi 8,672
Boise, Idaho 854
Charlotte, North Carolina 182,958
Columbia, South Carolina 45,420
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas 341,633
Kansas City, Missouri, area 99,409
Lexington, Kentucky 22,811
Macon, Georgia 20,407
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 635,826
Raleigh-Durham-Fayetteville, North Carolina 149,774
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, Florida 299,899
Wichita-Hutchinson, Kansas 37,700
Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services