Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Congressional Republicans haven't been successful in their efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, but tweaks made to the law may be affecting plan enrollment, if figures from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are any indication.
According to a CMS report released Wednesday, 177,082 people used Healthcare.gov during the first week of "open enrollment" to sign up for 2020 plans, down from 371,676 for the same period in 2019.
The agency measures enrollment weeks from Sunday through Saturday, so week one for 2019 was three days, while the first week for next year was two.
Still, based on these figures, per-day enrollment during the first week was down nearly 30 percent compared to last year.
In all, 48,923 people used the site to sign up for new plans for next year, while 128,159 renewed coverage from 2019 to 2020. Last year, 89,282 people used the site to sign up for new plans during the first week of 2019 open enrollment.
In addition to website traffic, 144,168 people used the agency's dedicated call center to inquire about 2020 coverage, less than half the number of calls placed during the first week last year.
It's unclear how significantly these figures were impacted by congressional changes to the ACA.
In 2018, the then-Republican-controlled Congress made several key modifications to the law championed by former President Barack Obama, including, most notably, eliminating the individual mandate.
Now, though taxpayers are still obligated to carry health insurance, either through their employers, through the ACA Exchange or by independently enrolling in their own ACA-compliant plans, they no longer have to pay a financial penalty if they don't. Some states still impose these fines on the uninsured through penalties on state income taxes, however.