ObamaCare’s ‘Ceiling’ for Sign-ups Could Be 14.7 Million

ObamaCare enrollment could have a “ceiling” of around 14.7 million sign-ups, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The analysis illustrates the difficulty in further reducing the number of uninsured people after the record gains made under ObamaCare. New figures released Thursday showed that 20 million previously uninsured people now have coverage because of the law, when the expansion of Medicaid is included.

Still, the Kaiser report notes that enrollment has been slowing down over the three years the health law has been in effect. The administration announced last month that 12.7 million people had signed up for coverage in the latest round, a more modest increase compared with 11.7 million who signed up the year before.

The report projects that sign-ups could grow up to 16.3 million people, but following recent trends, that number would likely then fall to 14.7 million because some people won’t pay their premiums.

“This may provide a reasonable estimate of a ceiling on what marketplace enrollment could grow to over the next several years, assuming current levels of premium subsidies and outreach,” the study finds.

So while enrollment is projected to increase by a few million over the next several years, about 30 million people still remain uninsured, as of the latest survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Only about 10.5 million of those uninsured people are eligible for ObamaCare’s marketplace coverage, according to administration estimates, so officials have also emphasized the need for the remaining states to expand Medicaid coverage under the law, and for immigration reform to allow people in the country illegally to sign up.

Experts say that a major barrier to more sign-ups is that financial assistance is significantly less generous for middle-class people, who have signed up at lower rates than low-income people.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, acknowledging the millions of people who remain uninsured, has proposed increasing the financial assistance under the law, though such a proposal would face a rocky path in Congress. She has also proposed increasing funding for sign-up outreach efforts to $500 million “in an aggressive enrollment campaign to ensure more people enroll in these extremely affordable options.”

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