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Health Care

Obamacare Enrollment Down 11 Percent from Last Year

A sign on an insurance store advertises Obamacare in San Ysidro, San Diego, Calif., October 26, 2017. (Mike Blake/REUTERS)

Enrollment in Obamacare is down significantly from this time last year, according to new data released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Approximately 3.2 million people have signed up for Obamacare in the first five weeks of this year’s open-enrollment period, a drop of 11 percent from the 3.6 million who signed up in the first five weeks of last year’s open-enrollment period.

Critics have blamed the Trump administration, which scrapped the law’s individual mandate and cut funding for Obamacare advertising and nonprofit agencies that provide enrollment guidance, for the drop off. But the first week of the open-enrollment period was one day shorter this year than it was last year, which may have been a contributing factor. And the final numbers may jump once those who want to keep their current Obamacare plan are automatically re-enrolled.

The lower number of Obamacare enrolees may also turn out not to translate into a higher number of uninsured people, as some Americans may now be getting health insurance through new jobs or switching to a private, non-Obama insurance plan.

The Republican Congress’s Summer 2017 repeal the Obama administration’s signature health-law failed dramatically at the last minute, when three GOP senators broke with their party and voted down a repeal package narrowly passed by the House.

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