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Affordable Care Act marketplace enrollment spikes, despite law's looming repeal

More than 670,000 Americans signed up for healthcare insurance coverage on Dec. 15 through the federal government's online marketplace — the largest number ever in a single day for HealthCare.gov — President Barack Obama said.

"And more are signing up by the day," the president told reporters during his Dec. 16 year-end White House news conference.

When Obama came into office in 2009, 44 million Americans were uninsured. But through the Affordable Care Act, he said, more than 20 million of those have received coverage, either under private plans purchased through the federal and state marketplaces or through the expansion of Medicaid, the program that covers the poor.

"For the first time in our history, more than 90% of Americans are insured," Obama said.

Because of the "extraordinary demand," the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs HealthCare.gov, extended the enrollment deadline from Dec. 15 to 11:59 p.m. PST on Dec. 19.

As of Dec. 10, over 4 million Americans, including over 1.1 million new consumers and 2.9 million renewing their coverage, had selected plans using HealthCare.gov since open enrollment began Nov. 1, CMS reported on Dec. 14.

Republicans have threatened to repeal the ACA, insisting they could replace many of its provisions with better options.

A Republican Senate aide told reporters on Dec. 15 that lawmakers could pass a replacement package by the end of 2017, although Congress may need to give states three to four years to ease into whatever framework is created for the measures affecting Medicaid or to decide if they want to stay with the current Obamacare structure.