The major development regarding the Affordable Care Act occurred on Wednesday when the Senate Finance Committee under the leadership of Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), inserted a repeal of the individual mandate as part of the Senate Finance Committee’s tax package.  According to an analysis by the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation,

“… repealing the mandate would reduce federal deficits by about $338 billion over the 2018–2027 period and increase the number of uninsured people by 4 million in 2019 and 13 million in 2027.”

The Joint Committee on Taxation is a joint congressional committee that evaluates tax legislation and policy.  Its assessment along with CBO of the repeal of the individual mandate indicates that fewer people would be insured because some people would drop their coverage and because those people who drop coverage would be the more desirable healthier people and that would drive up premiums which would price other less healthy people off insurance.

Open enrollment to sign-ups continued to exceed last year’s enrollment pace.  In California (a state with their own exchange website) over 48,000 new customers enrolled through that state’s exchange which is a 23 percent increase over the 39,000 people who signed up in the first two weeks of last year’s enrollment. We reported last week that New York there was more than 140,000 visitors in the first days of that states open enrollment.

At the federal level, over 346,000 new customers enrolled through in the first two weeks compared to 246,000 new customers last year, a 40 percent increase. Roughly 1.5 million people have signed since enrollment began Nov. 1, through last Wednesday according to CMS. The vast majority of enrollees are individuals renewing their coverage. More than 1.1 million people came to the federal enrollment website to renew their plan, compared to about 346,000 who signed up for the first time. In the second week, nearly 877,000 people enrolled in plans, a clip roughly on par with the enrollment pace seen during the first four days of the current sign-up season.

Signups have surged through  without problems.