Obamacare Enrollment On The Rise

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Registration for health care plans under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has increased compared to 2016 following the beginning of open enrollment Nov. 1.

More than 200,000 Americans purchased plans during the first day of enrollment, up from 100,000 during the first day in 2016, and visits to healthcare.gov totaled approximately 1 million, The Washington Post reported.

Although the Trump administration has yet to release official data, officials who spoke to The Post anonymously suggested that compared to 2016, the figure was up.

"We plan to release enrollment snapshot data regularly throughout open enrollment as we have done in the past," an official from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid told The Post.

In Colorado, Connect for Health Colorado spokesman Luke Clarke noted that over 4,000 people logged on to the state's exchange site, substantially more than the 2,700 that had been expected to do so.

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"Enrollment year five could be a record year," Clarke added. "It's way ahead of where we were last year, and a big surprise."

Republicans in the Senate continue to attempt to repeal parts of Obamacare. Sen. Ted Cruz suggested Nov. 7 that the GOP tax bill currently being discussed should contain a provision repealing Obamacare's individual mandate, which penalizes people who fail to buy a health care plan.

According to Cruz, repealing the mandate would provide an additional $416 billion in revenue to the federal government. The Texas senator argued that this would help offset the cost of tax cuts.

"One of the real virtues of repealing the individual mandate, number one, [is] every Republican in the Senate has voted to repeal the individual mandate, 100 percent of us," added Cruz, according to Vox.

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President Donald Trump also backs the proposal.

However, Vox reported that the measure is unlikely to be taken up by the GOP leadership. Republicans are attempting to pass tax cuts by the end of 2017, meaning they are working on a very tight schedule. Discussing the issue of Obamacare, which has divided GOP senators in the past, would likely slow down the tax bill.

"I would prefer to stay out of the health care process because it's tough enough to do a tax bill," said Sen. Orrin Hatch.

The Washington Examiner reported that the Trump administration has already drafted an executive order to repeal the individual mandate, but is waiting to see whether it is included in tax reform legislation.

However, an official with the Office of Management and Budget contradicted the report.

"There is no EO on the individual mandate at OMB," the official told the Examiner.

Sources: The Washington Post via Chicago Tribune, Vox, Washington Examiner / Featured image: Vice President Pence/Twitter via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: The White House/Flickr, Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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