Health Highlights: Feb. 5, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Nearly 13 Million People Sign Up for Obamacare in 2016

About 12.7 million Americans are signed up for Obamacare in 2016, the White House says.

That number includes people who signed up for individual private coverage or renewed their insurance for this year, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Thursday.

“It’s not the unequivocal success that Obamacare advocates had hoped for, but also not the disaster that critics thought could make it a talking point on the campaign trail,” Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation, told the Associated Press.

The 12.7 million figure is midway between the Obama administration’s projection of 11 million to 14 million initial enrollments through and state-run programs.

There were questions about how many people would sign up when open enrollment began in Nov. 1 because premiums have been rising and many of those without insurance are believed to be skeptical about the program, the AP reported.

Enrollment tends to decline over the year as some people can’t afford the premiums and others move to employer coverage, but Burwell said her goal is to have 10 million people still signed up and paying premiums at the end of 2016.

Along with the 12.7 million who enrolled in Obamacare this year, another 400,000 people signed up in a new health plan for low-income earners. Minnesota and New York are the first states to offer the plan, the AP reported.

Nearly 11.7 million people signed up for Obamacare in 2015, when nine percent of Americans were uninsured, compared with more than 14 percent in 2013. The White House said between the end of 2013 and the middle of 2015, more than 16 million people gained coverage, the AP reported.