Covered Cal: Enrollments steady

The threatened destruction of Obamacare hasn’t kept consumers from signing up for health care via Covered California.

Problem with health careAs of Jan. 23, 322,014 people have newly enrolled in a health plan via the state Obamacare operation since Nov. 1, keeping pace with the enrollment posted a year ago.

“While people are worried, the uncertainty is not preventing them from enrolling or renewing in coverage for 2017,” Covered California chief Peter Lee said.

Covered California released results of a “sentiment” market study conducted from mid-December through early January. Among its findings:

  • Concerns about affordability and rising costs “far outweigh concerns about the future” of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Ninety percent of consumers believe subsidies will continue to be available in 2017.
  • The belief that the ACA will be cancelled is not associated with hesitation to enroll or renew.

“Subsidies to help consumers buy health insurance on the exchange are critical to making coverage affordable to many people in California,” Lee said. “Because those subsidies are available, more than a million customers are able to buy health coverage they can afford.”

President Trump has made the dismantling of Obamacare his administration’s No. 1 goal in its first month.

“We recognize that the discussion in Washington can be unsettling, but those without insurance should not hesitate to enroll in coverage if they can afford it,” Lee said.

Open enrollment continues through Jan. 31.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, meanwhile, said his state would not “turn back” on its advances in health care made during the Affordable Care Act era.

In his state of the state speech, Brown said he intends to “join with other governors and senators, and with you, to do everything we can to protect the health care of our people.”

He noted that the potential economic fallout in California if Trump succeeds in destroying Obamacare. The state has seen “tens of billions of dollars from the federal government” via Obamacare, Brown said. “Were any of that were to be taken away, our state budget would be directly affected, possibly even devastated.”

The threatened repeal of the Affordable Care Act could cost California as many as 209,000 jobs, researchers at UC Berkeley have predicted.

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