Donald Trump desperately wants Americans to believe that the Affordable Care Act is “dead,” and to that end, the president and his administration have gone to considerable lengths to undermine the law.
And yet, “Obamacare” is doing quite well anyway.
Over 600,000 people signed up for a plan through Obamacare’s federal exchange in its first four days of open enrollment, significantly outpacing last year’s sign-ups, according to official figures released Thursday.
The Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said that 464,140 customers renewed their coverage while another 137,322 customers were new enrollees, for a total of 601,462. The number only includes people who signed up through the HealthCare.gov portal, which services 39 states.
Apples-to-apples comparisons get a little tricky since Trump shrunk the open-enrollment window, but as NBC News report added, the “daily rate of sign-ups is significantly faster this year” as compared to a year ago.
Lori Lodes, co-founder of Get America Covered, an outside campaign to enroll customers, added, “We shouldn’t read too much into this since there’s five weeks to go and we need to get a lot of people signed up quickly. But it’s a great start.”
As for why, exactly, enrollment totals are up despite Trump’s efforts to suppress them, experts aren’t altogether sure what’s driving the numbers, though there are quite a few credible theories. The bottom line, however, remains the same: the ACA is on something of a winning streak.
The early open-enrollment tallies offer encouragement to those hoping to see the system succeed, but it’s not the only area of good news. For example, voters in Maine this week adopted Medicaid expansion, offering new hope to tens of thousands of locals and health care advocates in other states where the issue may also appear on the ballot.
What’s more, Democratic gains in Virginia make it that much more likely Medicaid expansion may reach the commonwealth, too. Indeed, exit polling showed health care was the top issue on voters’ minds on Election Day, when Dems won big statewide.
The reports of the ACA’s death have been greatly exaggerated.