Obama health law sign-ups beat forecast despite headwinds

The Affordable Care Act has yet again beaten predictions of its downfall, as government figures showed unexpectedly solid sign-ups for health coverage next year.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said nearly 8.5 million people had enrolled as of last Saturday's deadline, with about a dozen states, including California and New York, still left to report. The preliminary number was down about 4 percent, when a much bigger loss had been expected.

Different factors combined to make for an unpredictable sign-up season this year for former President Barack Obama's health care law, commonly referred to as "Obamacare."

On the plus side, premiums stabilized and consumers had more coverage choices.

On the negative side, premiums for the health law's comprehensive coverage remained unaffordable for many people who don't qualify for financial help. Also, Congress repealed a requirement for Americans to get health insurance, and President Trump's administration sharply scaled back advertising and opened the way for competition from lower-cost insurance that covers less.


Dawn Kamber