NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - Enrollment in the individual insurance plans created under Obamacare declined to 12.2 million Americans, the U.S. government said on Wednesday as Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration sought to repeal the healthcare law.
As of the end of January, enrollment was down by about 500,000 people from 2016. It is about 1.6 million people short of former President Barack Obama’s goal for 2017 sign-ups, the government said.
The U.S. House of Representatives is working on passing a bill that would gut the 2010 Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, in part by replacing the income-based tax credits that helped reduce the monthly premiums for the majority of participants with age-based credits.
The White House and congressional leaders said on Tuesday they were weighing changes to their plan to dismantle Obamacare as Republicans’ questions mounted following an estimate that it would cause 14 million Americans to lose insurance next year.
The finding made it tougher for President Donald Trump to sell his first major piece of legislation, even to fellow Republicans in Congress.
The data released on Wednesday by part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes people who selected or were automatically enrolled in a plan between Nov. 1 last year and Jan. 31 either through the federal HealthCare.gov website or one of the state-based exchanges.
Of those enrolled, 10.1 million people or 83 percent received the advance premium tax credits, one of the lynchpins of the law alongside the expansion of Medicaid for the poor. About one-third of the enrollees were new to the market. (Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Alistair Bell)