KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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‘Doomsday’ Predictions Wrong, HHS Says As Enrollment Numbers Jump To 6.4M

There are about 400,000 more customers than there were at the same point last year, despite the threat of Republicans dismantling the law.

The New York Times: Health Exchange Enrollment Jumps, Even As G.O.P. Pledges Repeal
About 6.4 million people have signed up for health insurance next year under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration said Wednesday, as people rushed to purchase plans regardless of Republican promises that the law will be repealed within months. The new sign-ups — an increase of 400,000 over a similar point last year — mean the health care coverage of millions of consumers could be imperiled by one of the first legislative actions of Donald J. Trump’s presidency. (Pear, 12/21)

The Associated Press: 'Obamacare' Holding Its Own: 6.4M Signed Up So Far
"Obamacare" seems to be holding its own. The administration said Wednesday that 6.4 million people have enrolled for subsidized private coverage through HealthCare.gov, ahead of last year's pace. Despite rising premiums, dwindling insurers and the Republican vow to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law, about 400,000 more people signed up through Monday than for a comparable period in 2015, the Health and Human Services Department said. (Alonso-Zaldivar, 12/21)

USA Today: First Obamacare Deadline Had Big Late Rush
About 4 million of those who signed up so far this year were renewing coverage, but Burwell said she expects more of the people who enroll ahead of the Jan. 31 deadline for 2017 coverage will be new customers. ACA critics charge the law has mainly attracted sicker people who have driven up the rates for others. (O'Donnell, 12/21)

CQ Roll Call: Obamacare Enrollments Rise
The number of new customers is slightly behind last year's tally. Last year, about 2.4 million new consumers signed up for marketplace coverage from Nov. 1 through Dec. 19. (Williams, 12/21)

The Hill: 6.4M People Sign Up For ObamaCare So Far
Burwell urged Republicans not to repeal the law given the people who rely on it for coverage. Officials noted that over 30,000 people have called the ObamaCare call center worried about coverage going away due to a repeal. (Sullivan, 12/21)

And for news on enrollment in the states —

Kaiser Health News: Obamacare Enrollment Is Beating Last Year’s Early Pace
The surge in sign-ups on the federal marketplace mirrors activity on several state-run Obamacare exchanges, according to figures obtained from states independently by Kaiser Health News. Minnesota, with more than 54,000 enrollees as of Monday, doubled the number of sign-ups it had at the same time last year. Colorado, Massachusetts and Washington had enrollment growth of at least 13 percent compared to a year ago. (Galewitz, 12/21)

Miami Herald: Obamacare Enrollment Surging In Florida, Feds Say
Nearly 6.4 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges at healthcare.gov, the Obama administration reported Wednesday, a surge in enrollment that included about 1.3 million people in Florida — more than any state using the federally run marketplace. Enrollment reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services captured sign-ups as of Monday, the deadline to choose coverage that begins on New Year’s Day, and reflected an increase of about 400,000 consumers over the same period for the prior year. (Chang, 12/21)

Tampa Bay Times: Florida Drives Surge In Obamacare Enrollment 
Despite the Affordable Care Act's uncertain fate, nearly 1.3 million Floridians have enrolled in coverage for 2017, up from about 1.1 million at this time last year for 2016 coverage, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Wednesday. (McGrory, 12/21)

Chicago Tribune: Obamacare Enrollment Up In Illinois, U.S. Despite Fears About Program's Future 
Despite Obamacare's shaky future, more Illinois residents signed up for health insurance through the law's exchange this year than last, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday. This year, 247,818 people in Illinois signed up on the exchange by the Dec. 19 deadline to purchase coverage that would begin Jan. 1. That's compared with 232,750 who signed up for coverage last year, said Jonathan Gold, a department spokesman. This year's enrollment period was two days longer than last year. (Schencker, 12/21)

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