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8.2M people sign up for ObamaCare, holding roughly steady

8.2M people sign up for ObamaCare, holding roughly steady
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The Trump administration announced Friday that 8.2 million people signed up for ObamaCare plans for next year on the federally-run marketplace, holding roughly steady from last year's total. 

The total is close to last year's 8.3 million, the administration said, despite the fact that New Jersey and Pennsylvania's signups are now no longer included in the total because they have switched to running their own state-based marketplaces.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma said that when those two states are excluded, signups increased over last year — a sign of the health law's continuing resilience in the face of attacks and efforts at repeal.

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"Enrollment held roughy steady this year," Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, wrote in an email. "That’s good news when you consider the Trump administration has slashed outreach and did very little to promote the [Affordable Care Act]. It’s bad news in the middle of a pandemic with heightened health risks and an economic crisis when millions have lost their jobs."

The Trump administration has taken an approach of touting its management of the law while at the same time seeking to repeal it. The administration is currently backing a Supreme Court lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. 

CMS said in a press release that the data "indicates enrollment continues to remain stable."

The ObamaCare market has stabilized since the bumpy early years as insurers have adapted to the law.

Average benchmark premiums have declined 8 percent since 2018, CMS said and the number of counties with only one insurer offering coverage dropped to 10 percent, from 56 percent in 2018.

“Annual enrollment data shows that the Trump Administration’s focus on delivering more choices along with a smooth and streamlined consumer experience continues to drive strong enrollment,” Verma said in a statement.

Democrats have in the past accused President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE of "sabotaging" the law, pointing to actions like slashing the funding available for outreach to encourage people to sign up.

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE has promised to make a more active effort to promote and expand the law.