2.8 Million People Signed up for Obamacare in Special Period, Officials Say

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
September 16, 2021 Updated: September 16, 2021

Some 2.8 million people signed up for health insurance during a special enrollment period, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.

There are now 12.2 million people enrolled in “Obamacare,” or the Affordable Care Act, in federal and state marketplaces, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, in addition to over 82 million people enrolled with Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Most of the people who utilized the special period signed up through HealthCare.gov, according to government statistics. Approximately 738,000 signed up through state marketplaces across 15 states.

California, Connecticut, Washington, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, and Vermont are continuing special periods through the end of the year.

President Joe Biden ordered the national special period because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It lasted from Feb. 15 to Aug. 15.

The largest states saw the highest enrollment numbers, led by 542,067 Floridians and 416,987 Texans.

The enrollment numbers were nearly three times the enrollment seen during the same time frame in 2020 and nearly four times seen during the months in 2019.

“These numbers are encouraging, but we have more work to do to drive down the cost of health care for all Americans,” Biden said in a statement.

The president noted that his agenda includes lowering prescription drug costs by letting Medicare negotiate drug prices as well as providing health care premium tax cuts for poor Americans and extending Medicaid to millions more.

“I urge Congress to act quickly to deliver for the American people—to keep up the vital work of expanding access and lowering health care costs across the board, and to continue building on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said.

But the plan to lower drug costs hit a roadblock on Wednesday when three moderate Democrats—Reps. Scott Peters (Calif.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), and Kathleen Rice (N.Y.)—joined Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee in voting against a bill backed by Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The group, along with two other Democrats, had introduced their own bill taking aim at prescription drug costs that does not go as far as the Biden-backed one.

The bill favored by the president and Pelosi may be advanced after all because it’s being marked up in a second committee. But Democrats can only afford three defections in a full floor vote, making it uncertain that the party could pass it there.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.