While acknowledging that enrollment is down from a 2016 peak of 12.7 million, the Washington Post editorial board says11.8 million people did sign up for coverage in 2018. Those signups came despite slashed funding for advertising and an open-enrollment period that was shorted by half.
"HHS played up a rise in premiums relative to last year's, but most people on the ObamaCare exchanges receive federal subsidies, keeping their costs steady," the op-ed continues. "The average subsidized premium is only $89 per month."
Despite those positive implications, Hadley Heath Manning of the Independent Women's Forum doesn't think Americans are sticking by ObamaCare.
"Some people have left the so-called Affordable Care Act exchanges and they've gone to find healthcare-sharing ministries, or they've gone to find direct primary care practices where they can pay directly for the healthcare they consume," the IWF director of policy explains. "And really, the enrollment figures under the Affordable Care Act have never lived up to the initial expectations – so I don't think it's a fair assertion to say that Americans are excited about it."
As for the $89 a month plans, Manning says the chances of finding a doctor who will accept them are slim.
"We know the ACA plans don't come with as robust network coverage; [that is], they aren't as accepted by as many providers," she says. "And I would say the majority of people who have new insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act were actually enrolled through Medicaid rather than through one of the private plans at $89 a month."
Regardless, Manning points out that people were told to enroll or face a tax penalty for going without health coverage of some sort.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by President Trump did zero out the tax penalty. Meanwhile, Health and Human Services is open to allowing cheaper, skimpy plans that do not include all of the things required in the Affordable Care Act. The objective, says HHS, is to (1) bring down costs for people making too much money to receive subsidies, and (2) aid those who don't want to buy something they won't need.