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Megan McArdle

Obamacare Isn't Going to Fix Itself

Dropping enrollment is a bad sign for ACA, and also any future Republican replacement.
Ready for Ryan.

Ready for Ryan.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As the exciting saga of the American Health Care Act staggers forward, it’s easy to forget that new chapters of our old health care drama are still being written. On Wednesday, the department of Health and Human Services released its final estimate of the enrollment figures for Obamacare.

And what have we learned? Enrollment has leveled off, and indeed fell by about 500,000. The age profile has shifted slightly, in the wrong direction, with only 27 percent of plan selections coming from people between the ages of 18 and 34, and an offsetting increase in the number of children and people over the age of 55 covered. The number of Gold plans selected fell by half, from 6 percent to 3 percent, with Silver plans picking up a commensurate increase. Average premiums before the tax credit rose by nearly $100 a month, though after the tax credit they were roughly stable.