Obamacare 2018 HealthCare.gov enrollment totals about 8.8 million, compared with 9.2 million last year
Enrollment for 2018 Affordable Care Act exchange plans through the HealthCare.gov platform totaled about 8.8 million, slightly below 9.2 million last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said on Thursday. The enrollment figures, though below those for 2017 and 2016, appear better than expected, given big cuts to outreach efforts under President Donald Trump's administration and a shorter sign-up window, of just six weeks. The enrollment season is the first to take place under Trump, whose administration has been openly hostile to the health care law, and has pushed for the law's repeal. Thursday's enrollment figures also come as the Republican tax bill, which has been passed by Congress and should be signed into law soon, eliminates the ACA's individual mandate penalty starting in 2019, which is expected to reduce the number of insured individuals by about four million. Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the respected nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, described the results as "truly remarkable." "I confess to being very surprised that ACA marketplace enrollment is down only slightly," Levitt said. "That didn't seem possible with a 90% reduction in outreach, an enrollment period cut in half, and a constant refrain that the program is dead." The Thursday numbers do not appear to include enrollment through state-based marketplaces, the numbers for which are typically released at a later date.