Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sebelius says 7.5 million Americans now signed up for Obamacare

WASHINGTON — Enrollment in health care exchanges created under Obamacare has risen to 7.5 million and is expected to continue to increase, outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Senate committee Thursday.

Sebelius' announcement marks a 400,000-person uptick since Obama announced last week that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for coverage through marketplaces on the final day of open enrollment. The administration's original tally didn't include Americans who, because of issues signing up, received an extension until April 15.

"During these past six months, millions have obtained the security and peace of mind of affordable health coverage," Sebelius said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing. "Many of the people I've met have told me that they've been able to get covered for the first time in years. And some have insurance for the first time in their entire lives."

The Congressional Budget Office originally predicted that 7 million Americans would sign up through the health law but lowered its estimate by 1 million following the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov. Passing the 7 million mark last week was already an achievement for the administration after the site's disastrous launch.

But Obamacare remains a politically sensitive issue, especially as Democrats hope to keep control of the Senate by winning elections in moderate states where many Republican candidates are vigorously campaigning against the law. Support for the law remains divided, with 73 percent of Democrats and only 10 percent of Republicans in favor of the law, according to a Pew Research Center/USA Today poll released Thursday.

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