- The Washington Times - Friday, February 12, 2016

President Obama will visit Milwaukee in the coming weeks to celebrate its winning effort in a tourney to see which city could drive its uninsured population into the Obamacare marketplace, the White House said Friday.

About 38,000 new customers from the Wisconsin city signed up for coverage on HealthCare.gov between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31, giving it an edge over 19 other cities in the “Healthy Communities Challenge.”

Combined with returning customers, about 89,000 Milwaukee residents selected 2016 coverage on the exchange, where people can buy private plans with the help of income-based government subsidies.

The administration said Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit and Oakland, Calif., rounded out the top five.

“The efforts from mayors, local officials, assisters and residents remind me of what’s best in America, and what I see whenever I travel around the country: good people in strong communities who look out for each other and take care of their own,” Mr. Obama said. “As always, Washington can learn a lot from the communities we represent.”

The administration launched the challenge to whip up enthusiasm for Mr. Obama’s signature health law and its exchanges, which brought in 12.7 million customers nationwide.

Health officials say they’re happy with the numbers, though Republican critics note that congressional budget scorekeepers initially thought more than 20 million customers would sign up for 2016.

GOP leaders say interest in the law has “stalled out,” but the administration says the Congressional Budget Office staked its prediction on the false assumption that people would be driven from their job-based insurance and into the exchanges.

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