Health

Despite Obamacare's Uncertain Future, Millions Sign Up

| by Nik Bonopartis

The uninsured have continued to sign up for Obamacare, despite President-elect Donald Trump's campaign pledge to end the program.

By Dec. 15, the deadline for users to sign up for coverage in 2017, sign-ups through HealthCare.gov were up slightly from last year, according to The Washington Post.

Only about 25 percent of those sign-ups were new users, down from 40 percent last year, government statistics show.

The Obama administration has been trying to make the case that Trump should change his mind and keep the Affordable Care Act largely intact. The law was one of President Barack Obama's major victories during his eight years in office, and is seen as a key part of his legacy -- a legacy that's been threatened by Trump's Nov. 8 victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who promised voters she would leave the program intact with some changes.

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Trump has delivered mixed messages about his intent on Obamacare.

During the campaign, he took a hard line and promised to "repeal" the Affordable Care Act, lambasting it as wasteful, inefficient, and a drain on American taxpayers.

Just a few days after the election, Trump softened his stance, telling the Wall Street Journal on Nov. 12 that he was open to keeping some Obamacare provisions, like extending insurance policies so adult children are covered until they're in their mid-twenties, and prohibiting denial of coverage based on existing health conditions.

"I like those very much," the real estate mogul turned politician told the Journal.

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But Trump signaled his intent to go forward with the repeal when he picked Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services. The Georgia Republican is also an orthopedic surgeon, and has been working on plans to repeal and replace Obamacare for six years, The New York Times reported.

Still, members of the Obama administration continue to make their case.

"Momentum building. . . Americans want coverage," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell tweeted on Dec. 14, reports The Times-Picayune.

Sources: The Times-Picayune, The New York Times, The Washington Post / Photo credit: Cristian C/Flickr

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