‘Obamacare’ breaks registration record again when there is still time for more registrations

About 20 million people have signed up for health insurance this year through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, a record number.

President Joe Biden will likely use that number regularly on the campaign trail in the coming months, while former President Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, promises to dismantle the program of the Obama era.

The Biden Administration announced Wednesday morning that 20 million people had signed up for coverage on the marketplace, days before the enrollment period closes on Tuesday, January 16.

An insurance agent talks to clients inside the Las Madrinas de los Seguros main location in a Miami shopping center on December 5, 2023.Rebecca Blackwell / AP file

The latest forecasts indicate that a quarter more Americans have registered this year than last year, which broke the record of 16.3 million. Enrollment soared after Biden’s inauguration, with Democrats rolling out a series of tax breaks that give millions of Americans access to low-cost plans, some with zero-dollar premiums.

“We must take advantage of this progress and make these lower health premiums permanent“Biden said in a statement. “But extremist Republicans have blocked these efforts at every turn.”

The country’s top health authority on Wednesday attributed the interest in coverage to an aggressive campaign to get people to sign up. The Administration has worked with nonprofits across the country, including in predominantly Black and Latino communities like South Florida, to get people on board the program. The administration has also spent millions of dollars more hiring aides who help people enroll, a program that was decimated as President Donald Trump, a staunch critic of the so-called Obamacareoccupied the Oval Office.

“The previous administration made no effort to let people know what they could get,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said during an interview with Morning Joe, from MSNBC. “We’re out there, we’re not waiting for them to come to us. We’re going to them (potential beneficiaries).”

But the increase in registration that the Biden Administration celebrated on Wednesday has not been free. Some of the millions of new enrollees have only turned to the marketplace because they have been kicked out of Medicaid, the nearly free health coverage offered to the poorest Americans or those with disabilities. Health plans purchased through the market will have higher premiums and copayments for services.

About 14.5 million Americans have recently been kicked off Medicaid after the federal government lifted a three-year ban that prevented states from kicking ineligible people off government-sponsored health insurance. States began kicking millions of people off Medicaid last year, during an error-plagued process that has left thousands of children and pregnant women wrongly without health insurance coverage in some states.

Trump, for his part, periodically threatens during his election campaign to erase the work of the Biden Administration in the field of the health law signed by former President Barack Obama.

“He Obamacare “It’s a catastrophe, nobody talks about it.”Trump said at a campaign rally in Iowa on Saturday. The former president criticized the late Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona for blocking GOP efforts to kill the law more than five years ago.

Although the enrollment period for health insurance plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act ends on January 16, people who have been removed from Medicaid could enroll until the end of July.