Obamacare enrollment for next year now stands at 6.4 million people -- roughly 400,000 more than at this time last year, according to a government report released Wednesday. That could suggest a rush to sign up for coverage now that the law is likely to be repealed, but Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell reported that more than 30,000 callers have asked whether they should even bother.

The answer, she told reporters, is yes. Obamacare is the law of the land, Burwell said, and any Obamacare coverage people buy is "a contract for 2017" that will be honored. She acknowledged, however, that the signup duties will switch to the Trump administration shortly before open enrollment ends Jan. 31 -- so all the Obama administration can do is offer to help the Trump team and hope the handoff goes well.

Between the lines: The Obama administration has to run up the score -- not just because a high enrollment number is a better talking point against repeal, but because they'd already promised insurers a better mix of healthy and sick people. The signups include roughly 2 million new customers and 4.3 million renewals.

Go deeper

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines
  4. Wisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  5. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  6. Business: Consumer confidence surveys show Americans are getting nervousHow China's economy bounced back from coronavirus.
  7. Sports: We've entered the era of limited fan attendance.
  8. Education: Why education technology can’t save remote learning.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
34 mins ago - Economy & Business

The 2020 holiday season may just kill Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Online shopping and e-commerce have been chipping away at brick-and-mortar retailers over the years and the combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the 2020 holiday season may prove to be a knockout blow.

State of play: Anxious consumers say financial concerns and health worries will push them to spend less money this year and to do more of their limited spending online.

California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccines

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California will "independently review" all coronavirus vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration before allowing their distribution, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced at a news conference Monday.

Why it matters: The move that comes days after NAID director Anthony Fauci said he had "strong confidence" in FDA-approved vaccines could cast further public doubt that the federal government could release a vaccine based on political motives, rather than safety and efficacy.