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200,000 sign up for ACA during first 2 weeks of special enrollment

President Joe Biden participates in an event commemorating the 50 millionth COVID-19 vaccine shot at the White House on February 25. Biden said Wednesday more than 200,000 have signed up for the Affordable Care Act during a special enrollment period. Photo by Doug Mills/UPI
President Joe Biden participates in an event commemorating the 50 millionth COVID-19 vaccine shot at the White House on February 25. Biden said Wednesday more than 200,000 have signed up for the Affordable Care Act during a special enrollment period. Photo by Doug Mills/UPI | License Photo

March 3 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden said Wednesday that more than 200,000 have signed up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act in the first two weeks since his administration reopened enrollment.

In a released statement, the president said the special enrollment period has been successful so far, calling it "an encouraging sign." He said getting more people signed up is one of the keys to lowering healthcare costs overall.

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"Healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and ensuring that every single American has access to the quality, affordable healthcare they need is a national imperative," Biden said. "Never has that been more important than today, in the midst of a deadly pandemic that has infected nearly 30 million Americans."

Biden said the first two weeks were just a start, and he wants to see more sign up at HealthCare.gov before May 15. He said the ACA, also known as Obamacare, coupled with the American Rescue Plan currently being considered in Congress will make insurance plans less expensive.

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"[The American Rescue Plan] will increase federal subsidies and decrease premiums in order to ensure that no one ever pays more than 8.5% of their income on health coverage, though most Americans will pay far less," Biden said.

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"It incentivizes states to expand coverage to an additional 4 million people with low incomes, and extend coverage for a year to low-income women who have recently given birth," he said.

The Affordable Care Act is still unpopular with Republican lawmakers. Former President Donald Trump cut its budget annually while in office and his administration did little to publicize its open enrollment periods. The act still faces challenges in federal court as well.

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