The official national figure of 12.2 million does not include an additional 765,000 people signed up under an option in the Obama-era law called the Basic Health Plan, which is used by two states,
Traditionally, that figure has been reported separately because of differences in the type of health plan provided. But counting those enrollees as well, sign-ups approach 13 million people.
"This report is a reminder that while there's a big debate in
Meanwhile, House Speaker
Conservatives say the bill is an inadequately weak repeal of "Obamacare." Party moderates say it will push too many constituents off coverage, including Obama's expansion of
The latest government numbers on sign-ups fell short of the Obama administration's target of 13.8 million for 2017. Moreover, they represent initial enrollment, and there's usually significant attrition over the course of a year. Nonetheless, experts said the report undercuts Republican assertions that the health law's insurance markets are teetering on the verge of collapse.
The market "remains fairly stable in 2017 compared to previous years," said
The report also underscored the importance of the ACA's financial assistance, a combination of tax credits to help pay premiums and reduced cost sharing for people with low incomes.
Even though list price premiums for a standard "silver" plan went up by more than 20 percent this year, the average premium paid by HealthCare.gov customers after receiving their tax credit only went up by
Nationally, more than 8 in 10 enrollees were eligible for income-based tax credits to help pay their premiums, and nearly 6 in 10 were eligible for additional assistance with out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments, the report said.
Although the Republican bill would also provide tax credits, they would not be designed to keep pace with rising premiums. And the
"The markets continue to be dominated by enrollees receiving subsidies," said Pearson. "Without those subsidies, most enrollees are likely to drop out of the market, since they would not be able to afford coverage."
The enrollment numbers land in the middle of a legislative debate already roiled by a
Speaking Wednesday on
"The major components are staying intact because this is something we wrote with