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Obamacare Enrollment Down From Last Year, But Higher Than Expected

  • VOA News

FILE - Arminda Murillo, 54, reads a leaflet on Obamacare at a health insurance enrollment event in Cudahy, Calif., March 27, 2014.

U.S. federal officials say more than 9.2 million people signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act during open enrollment from November to January, despite Republican efforts to repeal the program then replace it with an alternative health care plan.

The total number of enrollees was down a half-million from the open enrollment period for last year. Yet, in the turmoil over the future of the program widely known as Obamacare, the decline was smaller than predicted.

Of the 9.2 million enrollees this year, about 3 million were new clients while the rest were continuing their coverage from last year, according to government figures.

The open enrollment is seen as a test of the popularity of the federal health care program, which offers programs in 39 states. The remaining states run their own health care exchanges.

One of the major critiques of Obamacare is its cost. Average premiums for one of the lowest-cost plans rose 25 percent compared with the previous year.

November’s presidential election placing Republican Donald Trump in the White House further threw the future of Obamacare into jeopardy. Republicans, including Trump, have vowed to make a repeal of Obamacare a top priority.

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