Speed Reads


Most new ObamaCare enrollees are from states Donald Trump won

The deadline for signing up for Jan. 1 health insurance though HealthCare.gov, the federal website for the Affordable Care Act, was Monday, and 400,000 more people have signed up this year than last, the Obama administration said Wednesday. In all, 6.4 million people have signed up for ObamaCare coverage this year — not counting state-run exchanges in California, New York, and other states — and customer still have until Jan. 31 to enroll for 2017 coverage. President-elect Donald Trump, who has promised to repeal ObamaCare, won all of the top five states with the most enrollees on the federal site: Florida (1.3 million), Texas (776,000), North Carolina (369,000), and Pennsylvania (291,000).

"Today's enrollment numbers confirm that doomsday predictions about the marketplace are wrong," said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. Some Republicans and ObamaCare critics disagreed. "Initial enrollment numbers for the health law have long been flawed, as they do not account for consumers who actually follow through and pay the premiums," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "A closer look will be needed down the road to determine the final, real enrollment numbers."

Other Senate Republicans and a few GOP governors are more cautious about repealing the health care law that has provided coverage to 20 million people and brought the uninsured rate to record lows. "We want to make it clear that the ACA has provided significant benefits to New Mexico," Gov. Susana Martinez (R) and Insurance Superintendent John Franchini said in a Dec. 12 letter to GOP leaders in Congress. "We compel you during your discussions to make sure that New Mexicans have viable options for affordable health care and that our state does not have the burden of taking on the uncompensated care costs for the under and uninsured."

Burwell said the Obama administration still expects 13.8 million people to sign up or continue their coverage by Jan. 31, and she encouraged people to sign up despite the threats of repeal and eventual replacement. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says most people can find plans for $75 or less a month on HealthCare.gov, with subsidies.