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Affordable Care Act Enrollment Tops 1 Million In First Two Weeks

From left to right: U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Orange County Medical Services Director Dr. Christopher Hunter, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

On the day after the election, 100,000 people enrolled in the Affordable Care Act. It was the largest single-day enrollment period up to that point.

It went against some expectations that enrollment would drop after Donald Trump was elected campaigning on a promise to repeal and replace the law. Instead, enrollment has kept on pace with about 1 million people selecting plans in the first two weeks of the sign-up period.

After the election, Trump said he may keep some popular components of Obamacare intact. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said she’s not surprised to hear the conversation switch from rhetoric to reality.

“The reality is that Americans don’t want to go back to a world where there are preexisting conditions that can keep you out,” Burwell said. “People don’t want to go back to a world where kids can’t stay on your plan until 26, or that there are lifetime and annual limits. The conversation now needs to switch from slogans to the actual reality.”

Burwell said the strong enrollment numbers reflect that people want and need the Affordable Care Act. She said she’s an optimist and believes the next administration will build on the progress that’s been made so far.

If that happens, Burwell said she’s fine if Trump gets all the credit for improving the nation’s health care system.

“This isn’t about one party or another. This isn’t about one president or another,” she said. “I couldn’t be more pleased if there would be the kinds of improvements that we think could increase access and improve affordability and quality.”

Open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act runs through Jan. 31. For information, visit healthcare.gov or call (800) 318-2596.

WUSF is a partner with Health News Florida, a statewide collaborative reporting on health care.

Health reporting on WMFE is supported in part by AdventHealth.

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