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Demand for Obamacare stays strong despite roadblocks
As of last Friday, more that 8.8 million people had signed up for 2018 coverage.
By Delila James
Contributor
Jan 12, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — Enrollment this year for health insurance coverage through the federal HealthCare.gov website nearly equals that for last year, according to a preliminary assessment by the government of the six-week enrollment period that ended last week, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

The numbers are surprising, considering apparent administration efforts to discourage people from signing up, including a much shorter enrollment period just half as long and slashed public advertising and outreach for the program. Trump also ended cost-sharing subsidies to offset out-of-pocket expenses for the poor.

As of last Friday, more that 8.8 million people had signed up for 2018 coverage, the administration reported.

"That's a healthy number," said Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation, according to Bloomberg. "There were a lot of headwinds to sail against in this one."

President Trump has often disparaged Obamacare, repeatedly predicting its demise.

"Obamacare is finished," Trump said as the enrollment period opened on Nov. 1. "It's dead. It's gone."

The new numbers include 6.4 million returning customers and nearly 2.4 million new enrollees.

Sign-ups continue in 17 states including California and New York, where enrollment extends through the middle or end of January so this year's enrollment could ultimately exceed last year's. And people in hurricane-affected areas, including Texas, can still buy coverage through the end of December.

In a clear sign that the Affordable Care Act is still a significant source of health care coverage for many Americans, Washington state reported Wednesday that more people enrolled in Obamacare plans this year than last year.