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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 That could suggest a rush to sign up for coverage now that the law is likely to be repealed, but Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell reported that more than 30,000 callers have asked whether they should even bother.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 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.

Kamala Harris resigns from Senate seat ahead of inauguration

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris submitted her resignation from her seat in the U.S. Senate on Monday, two days before she will be sworn into her new role.

What's next: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has selected California Secretary of State Alex Padilla to serve out the rest of Harris' term, which ends in 2022.