Is the Affordable Care Act Here to Stay?

Demand for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) subsidized individual health plans continues, despite efforts by the Trump administration to undermine them. After a repeal of the ACA failed in Congress, the Trump administration cut the federal open enrollment season in half, stripped the ad budget, and pulled back money for counselors who help people sign up.

Official numbers show that 36 percent who rushed to finish healthcare.gov applications by the deadline were first-time customers. Final national enrollment numbers aren’t expected until next year because some states running their own insurance websites extended sign-ups to January 31, 2018.

Enrollment in the 39 states served by healthcare.gov is expected to be lower than previous years. Nationally, 12.2 million people enrolled by the end of the Obama administration’s final sign-up period; under Trump, there could be approximately 2 million fewer sign-ups.

Some experts believe the tax bill’s repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate will undermine markets by giving healthy people an out, but other measures might stabilize insurance markets. A bipartisan Senate bill would restore insurer subsidies cut by the Trump administration, and other proposals would provide money to help insurers cover the care of high-cost patients.

Source: ABC News, December 18, 2017.

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