It was just a blip — maybe you missed it — but health care was indeed mentioned in last night’s presidential debate in Las Vegas. And it wasn’t Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump that brought it up.
During the discussion on the economy, moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News tried to get the candidates to touch on Obamacare, which he called “a significant segment” of the economic picture. Alas, his effort went no further as the candidates jumped to other subjects (as is customary for politicians) and the debate devolved into … ugh … more of the same from the previous debates.
What a shame, because earlier in the day Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that her department expects robust growth in sign-ups via the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace for the 2017 open enrollment period from Nov. 1 to Jan. 31.
During open enrollment, HHS projects that 13.8 million people will have signed up for a plan, up 8.7% (1.1 million people) from the 12.7 million plan selections in the 2016 period and about the same percentage growth as last year. Monthly effectuated enrollment is estimated to average 11.4 million people during 2017.
HHS also noted that new enrollees will come from the 10.7 million uninsured Americans eligible for ACA coverage. The department said that about 85% have incomes making them eligible for financial assistance, and almost 60% have incomes that would also qualify them for cost-sharing reductionss. Forty percent of the eligible uninsured are 18 to 34 years old — a key group for the Marketplace as insurers work to widen the pool of healthier insureds to rein in costs.
Other new enrollees, HHS said, will come from the 5.1 million people eligible for the Marketplace who currently purchase non-ACA coverage.