Of the 6.4 million Americans who signed up for health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges by the Dec. 19 deadline for coverage beginning Jan. 1, about 2 million of them were first-timers, presenting the incoming Trump administration with added challenges in not alienating a huge bloc of U.S. voters. Another 2.2 million persons were automatically renewed in the process.
The results were released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), whose secretary, Sylvia Mathew Burwell, observed: “Some of the doomsday predictions about the marketplace are not bearing out.”
On Thursday, Dec. 15, the original deadline for coverage beginning Jan. 1 (later extended to Dec. 19), some 670,000 people signed up, the busiest day ever on HealthCare.gov, according to HHS.
Responding to Burwell’s comments, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement: “Once Obamacare is repealed, we will make sure there is a stable transition period so that people don’t have the rug pulled out from under them.”