Overnight Healthcare: More than 11.3M have signed up for ObamaCare

More than 11.3 million people have signed up for ObamaCare coverage so far, reaching the lower end of the administration's projections with almost a month remaining to sign up.

The administration touted the new number on Thursday as a sign of "unprecedented demand" for coverage. The news comes one day after the House voted to repeal much of the law, sending legislation to the White House for a certain veto.

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In October, the Department of Health and Human Services estimated that between 11 million and 14.1 million people would sign up. The sign-up period ends Jan. 31, and there is usually a surge of enrollment right before the deadline.

The number also means that sign-ups have almost reached last year's final level of 11.7 million.

The sign-up numbers are a positive sign for the law after the October enrollment estimates were largely seen as modest and the administration had to fend off the idea that enrollment had reached a plateau. Some experts say the estimates were too low to begin with. Officials acknowledged at the time that there would be a longer path to signing up the remaining uninsured, who tend to be harder to reach.

"We're seeing unprecedented demand for Marketplace coverage with more than 11.3 million people signed up for coverage," HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a statement Thursday. Read more here.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD ENDORSES CLINTON Planned Parenthood is throwing its support behind Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonWeld wins Libertarian nomination for VP Sanders supporter challenges Wyo. delegate allocation Dems to Clinton: Ignore Trump on past scandals MORE, delivering what will be the organization's first-ever endorsement in a presidential primary.

"Let's be clear -- reproductive rights and health are on the ballot in 2016," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.

"This is about so much more than Planned Parenthood. Health care for an entire generation is at stake," she added.

Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and a staunch supporter of abortion rights, thanked Planned Parenthood for its support.

"I'll take on Republicans or anyone who tries to interfere with women's health," Clinton tweeted. "I am proud to have @PPact's support in this important election. Read more here.

DEMS FRET OVER NFL INFLUENCE ON RESEARCH A group of House Democrats on Thursday wrote to the National Institutes of Health expressing concern about possible "veto power" that the National Football League exercised over a study on a brain disease.

The group of House Democrats cited an article by ESPN last month reporting that the NFL backed out of funding an NIH study on the brain disease, known as CTE, after it was awarded to a Boston University researcher who has criticized the NFL in the past. ESPN also reported that the NFL had "veto power" over NIH projects that it funds.

The letter is written by Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees NIH, as well as Reps. Gene GreenGene GreenHouse, Senate roll out chemical safety compromise Time runs short on House GOP bill tackling mental health, mass shootings House Dems give mixed reviews to Obama Medicare plan MORE (D-Texas), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.).

"We are concerned about the potential implications of outside entities attempting to exercise 'veto power' or other influence over the selection of NIH research applicants, and we therefore seek to better understand the role the NFL has played in the allocation and administration of its $30 million 'unrestricted' donation," the lawmakers write. Read more here.   

WHAT WE'RE READING:

Republicans push again for an ObamaCare alternative (Los Angeles Times)

Sen. Burr addresses ObamaCare (WNCN)

IN THE STATES:

UnitedHealth says trouble looming for New York ObamaCare plans (Bloomberg)

Ohio AG ends push over Planned Parenthood's disposal of fetal remains (Columbus Dispatch)

ICYMI FROM THE HILL:

White House scoffs at ObamaCare repeal vote

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