By Sarah Ferris - 09/22/15 09:50 AM EDT
A total of 17.6 million people have gained coverage under ObamaCare, according to a revised government estimate released Tuesday.
The newest figure, which is based on national survey data, shows that 1.2 million more people had signed up for healthcare over the last five years than previously thought.
The new data also puts the Obama administration ahead of the health insurance gains estimated by the Congressional Budget Office for 2015. The CBO had predicted roughly 17 million people would gain coverage by 2015, with the gains about equally split between the exchanges and Medicaid.
Health and Human Services (HHS) chief Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced the new figure Tuesday during a speech at Howard University Hospital, where she also highlighted the law’s impact on black and Hispanic populations.
“This progress has been even bigger for people of color,” she said, pointing to the 10 percent drop in the uninsured rate among black Americans.
Burwell’s speech was also a preview of this fall’s open enrollment period, which she acknowledged would be tougher than the previous two seasons.
One thing that is different, she said, is that the major lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act has been settled.
“The questions that surrounded this law a year ago have all been answered,” she said. “Now we have a new opportunity in front of us — building on this progress.”