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Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Analysis Shows Health Care Enrollment Numbers Would Be Steady Absent Trump Sabotage
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Analysis Shows Health Care Enrollment Numbers Would Be Steady Absent Trump Sabotage

Washington, D.C. — Ahead of open enrollment on Wednesday, a new analysis from the Center for American Progress finds that in the absence of the Trump administration’s widespread sabotage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 12.2 million Americans would otherwise have enrolled in the marketplace in 2018, holding steady from 2017.

CAP Health Economist Emily Gee, who calculated annual enrollment projections at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a former economist for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation under the Obama administration, calculated the predictions. Despite projecting growth in each of the past four years, HHS has not announced any projection for 2018 open enrollment.

“Without the Trump administration’s blatant efforts to make it harder for Americans to obtain health insurance, CAP’s analysis shows that open enrollment would remain steady this year at about 12.2 million enrollees. Instead, people we could otherwise count on to sign up could be left in the cold and without the proper support and details on how to enroll,” said Gee.

CAP developed an estimate of potential 2018 enrollment by using data from 2016 and 2017 and by adopting the framework that HHS used for its prior marketplace projections. In the absence of sabotage, CAP projects that a total of 12.2 million people would have selected plans for 2018, consisting of about 8.1 million re-enrollees and 4.1 million new enrollees.

CAP believes this is a conservative estimate given that within days of President Donald Trump taking office, the new administration cut off HealthCare.gov advertising and signaled its intent to repeal the ACA. Midway through last year’s open enrollment period, enrollment was surpassing the previous year’s levels.

The Trump administration’s active steps to undermine the law seem likely to depress enrollment in 2018. These sabotage efforts include cutting the duration of the open enrollment period in half; slashing the marketplace advertising budget by 90 percent, despite the proven effectiveness of outreach and television advertising in getting people covered; and cutting funding to navigator groups that provide valuable in-person assistance to consumers in need of coverage.

Click here to read “Projected 2018 Marketplace Enrollment in the Absence of ACA Sabotage” by Emily Gee and Thomas Huelskoetter.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Devon Kearns at 202.741.6290 or [email protected].