More than 8 million people have signed up for coverage next year under former President Obama's health care law, the government said Friday, showing continued demand for the program despite uncertainty over its future. Preliminary numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services showed that 8.3 million people enrolled from Nov. 1 to Dec. 17, about 2% fewer than last year, the AP reports. The final number will be higher, after states that run their own sign-up drives report their results. National totals are usually released in March. The enrollment report follows a federal appeals court decision this week that declared part of the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and cast a shadow over other parts of the statute.
Agency administrator Seema Verma said Friday's preliminary report shows "stable” enrollment, and belies what she called "hysterical and inaccurate" claims by Democrats that the Trump administration is trying to sabotage the health insurance markets. New customers totaled more than 2 million people—an increase of 36,000 from last year. Although modest, that's considered a positive sign. The law offers subsidized private health insurance to people who don't have workplace coverage. Enrollment has been averaging about 10 million people per year in recent years. "The ACA is stable and resilient, not failing," an expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation said, per the Hill. "However, it also has limited potential to grow without strengthening."
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