Bucking expectations, ObamaCare is off to a record-breaking start. The Hill reports that around 200,000 signed up for health care coverage on the first day of this year's enrollment period, compared to 100,000 last year. Such early enthusiasm is good news for fans of ObamaCare, many of whom assumed enrollment would be down this year due to actions by the Trump administration, including slicing the advertising budget by 90% and cutting the length of the enrollment period by half. Still, despite the early high numbers, analysts say early enrollees tend to be renewing coverage, not getting it for the first time. Last week Standard & Poor's said enrollment could drop by as much as 1.6 million this year.
With the government's advertising budget just $10 million, some insurance companies are spending their own money to spread the word about the enrollment period, Reuters reports. These companies are using advertising both to bring in the young, healthy customers whose coverage keeps premiums down and to clear up any confusion about the cessation of subsidies under Trump. The ObamaCare numbers come as reports have surfaced that the Trump administration is preparing an executive order that would effectively wipe out the mandate that most Americans have health insurance. The order would state that the administration will not collect the tax penalties from people who fail to get coverage, CNBC reports.