As Obama administration officials are heading out the door, customers keep coming to buy Obamacare plans.
More than 8.8 million people so far this health insurance enrollment season have signed up for plans on the federal Obamacare marketplace that serves residents of 39 states, slightly outpacing the number plan selections seen at the same time last year, officials said.
The tally is almost 100,000 people higher than the number of people who had signed up on HealthCare.gov at this point last year.
The higher rate of sign-ups has continued even as Republicans in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump vow to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act.
"With almost 9 million people signed up for 2017 coverage just in HealthCare.gov states, it's clear that Marketplace coverage is a product Americans want and need," said Sylvia Burwell, the secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
"Strong demand is especially striking in light of the unique headwinds created by discouraging rhetoric from ACA opponents," Burwell said.
Burwell herself will be signing up for Obamacare coverage after she exits office Friday with Trump's inauguration. Open enrollment in Obamacare plans continues through Jan. 31.
The 8.8 million person tally revealed in a new report from an HHS division is just from federal exchange sign-ups. At least 2.8 million more people have signed up for coverage for 2017 on of the Obamacare exchanges operated by individual states or the District of Columbia.
The rate of sign-ups has been cited by Obamacare advocates in arguing against either a repeal of the ACA, or a replacement plan from Republicans that does not offer the same level of coverage that the ACA has offered. More than 20 million Americans to date have gained insurance coverage as a result of ACA programs.