ObamaCare sign-ups for 2020 hold largely steady at 8.3M people

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A patient is shown signing up for ObamaCare insurance in this Nov. 22, 2017, file photo.

About 8.3 million people signed up for ObamaCare coverage for 2020, holding mostly steady with a slight drop from last year’s total of 8.5 million people. 

The Trump administration announced the figures on Friday and said that the administration is running the health law successfully despite Democratic charges of “sabotage.”

“We are reporting that for the third year in a row enrollment in the Federal Exchange remained stable,” said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. “Far from undermining the Affordable Care Act – as some hysterical and inaccurate claims would have it – the Trump Administration is making the very best of what remains a failed experiment.”

Democrats have argued the enrollment figures would be higher if the Trump administration had not slashed funds for outreach and advertising efforts to encourage people to enroll. 

But enrollment has not seen a large drop-off under the Trump administration, indicating it remains relatively stable. 

The Trump administration extended the deadline this year, which was originally Dec. 15, by two days, giving people more time to enroll after there were some technical glitches on the website.  

“8.30 million people have signed up for ACA coverage through the federal marketplace for 2020, down just a bit from 8.45 million last year,” tweeted Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “The ACA is stable and resilient, not failing. However, it also has limited potential to grow without strengthening.”

ObamaCare has been stable for people with relatively low incomes who qualify for financial assistance under the law. Financial help is available for people making less than about $100,000 for a family of four. 

But Republican critics point out that people with somewhat higher incomes who do not get assistance face unaffordable costs. 

Levitt noted that many people who do not qualify for financial assistance have dropped coverage in recent years because of trouble affording it, but that they buy their coverage outside of the ObamaCare marketplace so do not show up in these numbers. 

“What you don’t see in these numbers are the big declines in recent years in individual insurance enrollment among people not eligible for subsidies who buy outside the exchange as premiums increased significantly,” Levitt wrote in an email.

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