Obamacare Enrollment Has Boomed Since the Election

November 16th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

President-elect Donald Trump made repealing major portions of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, one of the cornerstones of his campaign.

However, while the the president-elect wants to significantly diminish Obamacare, more people than ever are signing up.

About 1 million people have purchased health insurance through Obamacare exchanges since the open enrollment period began on Nov. 1, about 53,000 more people than this time last year, CNN Reports. Of those purchases, 300,000 were made in the three days after Trump was elected president on Nov. 8.

The increase in sign-ups for Obamacare this year, despite the negative attention surrounding it, is an encouraging sign to Health Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

"The American people are demonstrating how much they continue to want and need the coverage the marketplace offers," Burwell told CNN on Wednesday.

In addition to Trump's repeated criticisms of Obamacare, there were reports in October that premiums for plans purchased through the healthcare exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act would increase by an average of 25 percent in 2017. Opponents of Obamacare have jumped on the opportunity to call for its repeal, some using the hashtag #UnaffordableCareAct.

The increase in signups since Trump's election could make the system less of a "disaster," as it relies on high enrollment to be feasible. 

Recently Aetna, Humana, and United Healthgroup, some of the biggest insurance providers in the country, said they were pulling out of the Obamacare healthcare exchanges in some states because they couldn't make a profit, according to Slate.

As Slate's Jordan Weissman explained in August, Obamacare doesn't allow insurers to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. To make up for the costs of paying for the care of unhealthy people, insurers say they need young, healthy people to buy in and pay monthly premiums.

"That’s why the law tries to prod all Americans into buying insurance by taxing them if they don’t—that’s the 'individual mandate,'" Weissman wrote. "But insurers have also had trouble signing up enough young, healthy, and profitable adults to balance out the older, sicker patients with high medical costs that they’re required to cover under the reform law."

Some supporters of Obamacare are worried that Trump will repeal it.

Trump's plans for Obamacare remain unclear. Though he consistently called for its repeal and replacement during the campaign, he said last week that he would consider keeping the provisions protecting people with pre-existing conditions and allowing people 26 and under to stay on their parents' health plans.

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