9.9 Million Americans Sign Up for Obamacare
Policy + Politics

9.9 Million Americans Sign Up for Obamacare

Some 9.9 million people have signed up for health coverage through Obamacare since the law’s second open enrollment period began in November, health officials said Wednesday. 

The latest figures include 7.5 million people enrolled through the federal exchange and another 2.4 million on the state exchanges. This puts the administration nearly 1 million sign ups above its initial goal to enroll 9.1 million people this year, and officials believe the numbers will keep climbing. 

Related: Veteran Obamacare Fix Adds $900 Million to Deficit 

The administration did not say how many of these people have paid their first months’ premiums—that data will likely be available some time after the end of the open enrollment period on Feb. 15. 

Health officials are making an aggressive weeklong push to sign up as many people as possible for coverage ahead of next week’s deadline. 

“Beginning next Monday we will be fully staffed at our call centers,” CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt told reporters on a press call Wednesday. He advised people interested in enrolling not to wait until the last minute, as officials are expecting a crush of sign-ups just ahead of the deadline as they experienced last year. 

The new numbers come one day after the Republican-controlled House voted for the 60th time to repeal Obamacare. 

“While we continue to have repeal votes, millions of Americans are relying on the Affordable Care Act,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell told reporters on the call.

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Regardless, the GOP has signaled that it won’t be giving up its plans to repeal and replace Obamacare anytime soon. Last week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) the new House Ways and Means Chairman, announced a new GOP taskforce that will be developing a Republican alternative to the president’s health care law.

The GOP’s plans to replace the law rely largely on a potential Supreme Court ruling in the much-anticipated case of King v. Burwell, which the Court will hear in March and decide in June. 

If the Court rules against the administration and strikes down federal subsidies for people in the 37 states relying on the federal exchange, some 6 million or more people could lose access to their subsidies—and likely their health coverage. 

If that happens, Republicans say they won’t restore subsidies and essentially let the law fall apart so they can replace it with their alternative (which doesn’t exist yet.) 

About 87 percent of the 7.5 million people enrolled on the federal exchange have qualified for these subsidies. 

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