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Obamacare Sign-Ups Spike In Illinois Even As GOP Pushes To Repeal

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jan 12, 2017 5:23PM

Getty Images / Photo: Adam Berry

Even as Congressional Republicans waste no time in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Illinois residents continue to sign up in big numbers for coverage under the federal exchange, according to recently released data by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As of late December, more than 460,000 people in Illinois had applied for 2017 coverage, and roughly 351,000 had signed up for a specific plan. That represents a jump in enrollees of about 4,400 from the year prior.

The all-important young demographic (ages 18 through 34), on which the system relies to fund older, sicker policy holders, accounted for 26 percent of sign-ups, second only to Illinois residents between the ages of 55 and 64 (30 percent).

City officials and national lawmakers from Chicago districts have been pushing hard Illinois residents to continue signing up, even as the Senate pushes forward with its repeal plan.

“The Affordable Care Act has been a godsend to so many of our residents who previously lacked health insurance,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement on Tuesday. “We want everyone to remember that the ACA remains the law of the land and that the deadline for ensuring coverage of Feb. 1 is fast approaching.”

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis joined Preckwinkle in urging Illinois residents who remain uninsured to sign up through the ACA exchange.

“What’s important is the law is the law, and as of right now, the Affordable Care Act is in force, in play and if you are eligible — in any way, shape, form or fashion — register, sign up right now,” U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said at Stroger Hospital on Tuesday, via the Sun-Times.

The U.S. Senate narrowly passed a budget resolution early on Thursday morning that lays the groundwork to repeal large parts of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s domestic-policy cornerstone. The vote was 51-58. If passed by the House, which GOP lawmakers hope to see as early as Friday, House and Senate committees would then draft further repeal specifics.