Reports: Obamacare Enrollment Initially Surges Despite Trump’s Outreach Cuts

Kevin Dietsch/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Since President Trump took office in January, health care experts and advocates have sounded the alarm that his budget cuts and policy changes would severely reduce health insurance enrollment—predicting a dip of more than 1 million people compared to last year.

But so far, according to reports by The Hill and the Washington Post not officially confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services, the opposite is happening.

More than 200,000 people signed up for a plan when Obamacare’s open enrollment period began on Nov. 1, twice as many as enrolled on day one last year.

An anonymous official at HHS also told the Post that more than 1 million people visited on the enrollment period’s opening day, a more than 30 percent increase in traffic compared with 2016.

Officials at state exchanges reported an uptick as well.

The early numbers are a surprise—contradicting the common wisdom that the Trump administration’s decision to cut the length of the open enrollment period in half, slash funding for outreach by 90 percent and repeatedly declare the Affordable Care Act “dead” in public speeches would sow confusion about the status of the law and depress enrollment nationwide.

HHS told TPM that it does plan to release signup data “snapshots” during open enrollment, but would not confirm when the first reports will be released.

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