ObamaCare enrollment hits 11.5M for 2017

ObamaCare enrollment hits 11.5M for 2017
© Greg Nash

More than 11.5 million people were signed up for health insurance through the ObamaCare marketplace as of Dec. 24, 2016, an increase of 286,000 from the same period in 2015, according to a new report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Additionally, more than 700,000 people in New York and Minnesota have signed up for healthcare through their states' Basic Health Programs, which serve low-income residents who are eligible for marketplace plans but may have difficulty affording it.

“Nationwide demand for health coverage is higher than ever, as Americans prove again that Marketplace coverage is vital to them and their families,” HHS Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellPrice was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill ObamaCare enrollment hits 11.5M for 2017 MORE said in a statement. 

Open enrollment for ObamaCare ends Jan. 31, but consumers have until Jan. 15 to sign up for coverage that starts Feb. 1. 

The new numbers fall below HHS's projection for open enrollment, though there are still two and a half weeks left in the enrollment period. 
Burwell estimated that nearly 13.8 million people would sign up for ObamaCare in 2017. 
In 2016, 12.7 million signed up for plans during open enrollment. 
Some industry experts have warned that enrollment could decline in 2017 because of higher insurance premiums.
The report comes as Republicans look to repeal ObamaCare, though they are not united on when it should be repealed or what it should be replaced with.
Democrats are fighting to protect the program, arguing that repeal would leave millions of people without insurance.
But they will face an uphill battle to block either a budget resolution that includes ObamaCare repeal. Only 50 votes are needed for it to clear the upper chamber under a special procedure known as reconciliation, and Republicans have a 52-seat majority.