Obama cheers seven million health care sign ups

April 2, 2014 by Stephen Collinson

President Barack Obama Tuesday cheered seven million people who bought into his health care law and lashed out at political foes who were "mad" that more Americans could get insured.

Obama savored a rare moment of triumph in his second term after the Affordable Care Act sign-up process defied skeptics and a rocky launch to hit its enrollment target ahead of a Monday deadline.

"Yes, at times, this reform has been contentious and confusing and obviously it's had a share of critics," Obama told a crowd in the White House Rose Garden.

"That's part of what change looks like in a democracy. Change is hard. Fixing what is broken is hard."

Obama, who has seen the early hopeful euphoria of his presidency drained by a fierce partisan battle with Republicans in Congress, insisted that the , for which he has paid a heavy political price, had cut costs and widened access.

"But this law is doing what it is supposed to do. It's working," Obama said.

He also took aim at Republicans who have made repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare, in line with a new White House narrative that opponents of the law now actively want to deprive Americans of their new benefits.

"Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?"

Disastrous glitches

The White House said that a total of 7,041,000 people had signed up to plans in the new Obamacare private insurance market place after a late surge ahead of Monday's deadline.

The administration had initially set seven million enrollments as its target—but lost two months of sign-up time to disastrous glitches with the Healthcare.gov website late last year.

Few observers thought that a frantic administration effort to fix the site and reach out to potential customers at the grass roots would succeed.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the seven million figure would rise as more late arriving data flowed into Washington from the states.

The successful late surge in enrollments was just the latest drama for a that cost Obama and his Democrats a large chunk of their political capital, had to be upheld by the Supreme Court and foundered on deep divisions between Democrats and Republicans cleaving the United States.

Republicans to fight on

Republicans however vowed to carry on opposing a law they say has put undue pressure on small businesses, costs jobs and hiked costs for consumers.

"All across the country our constituents are having an unpleasant interaction with Obamacare," said Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican.

"Whether they can sign up for a policy or not, they are discovering, of course, higher premiums, a higher deductible," he said.

"Many of them are losing their jobs and so it is really a catastrophe for the country both for the healthcare providers and the consumers."

The law demands that all Americans have or pay a fine, but offers subsidies for the less well-off to sign up.

It could be months until the full success of the law, the most sweeping social reform in America in decades, can be gaged.

It is unknown how many young people have signed up—an important indicator since they are needed to subsidize higher costs of older, sicker patients.

If Obamacare pools skew too old, the cost of premiums could rise next year.

Also unclear is whether everyone who registered for a health plan actually paid for it.

Another unknown is what percentage of those signing up had no prior coverage—a key metric in assessing if the law helped 40 million Americans who lack insurance.

Explore further: Obama comes out fighting on health care

Related Stories

Obama comes out fighting on health care

December 3, 2013
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday tried to turn the focus away from the glitch-riven debut of his landmark health care law to its benefits, hoping to reverse a rough political run.

'Obamacare' sign-ups top six million

March 27, 2014
More than six million Americans had registered for health insurance under US President Barack Obama's reform by Thursday, fewer than initially hoped but in line with revised projections.

Obama takes satirical hit to chin to sell health care

March 11, 2014
US President Barack Obama is trying a new strategy in his struggle to sell his stumbling health care law—self parody.

Obamacare sign-ups hit 4.2 million (Update)

March 11, 2014
A further 940,000 Americans registered for President Barack Obama's health care plans in February, bringing to 4.2 million the number of people who have signed up so far, officials said Tuesday.

Health law sign-ups set to meet target

April 1, 2014
Jammed phone lines and unreliable websites failed to stop a last-minute rush by hundreds of thousands of Americans trying to sign up for health coverage by the midnight Monday deadline for President Barack Obama's signature ...

US grants extra time to enroll for health care (Update)

March 26, 2014
The Obama administration has announced that people who started applying for health insurance but are not able to finish before the March 31 enrollment deadline will get extra time.

Recommended for you

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.