• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 42s

Obama: 7.1 million now signed up for Obamacare

By Stephanie Condon / CBS News 2:56 PM April 1, 2014

President touts law's success: "The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay"

Before open enrollment closed at midnight Monday night, 7.1 million signed up for private insurance coverage via the Obamacare marketplaces, President Obama announced Tuesday from the White House Rose Garden, with Vice President Joe Biden by his side.

The president used the milestone moment to declare that, in spite of split public opinion and continued Republican opposition, the law is without question a good thing for the nation.

“Under this law the share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth of health care costs is down. And that’s good for our middle class, and that’s good for our fiscal future,” he said. “All told, because of this law millions of our citizens know the economic security of health insurance who didn’t just a few years ago, and that’s something to be proud of, regardless of your politics or your feelings about me.”

The administration managed to meet its initial enrollment goals after a “remarkable surge” on HealthCare.gov in the final days of the six-month open enrollment period, White House spokesman Jay Carney explained earlier. On Monday alone, more than 200,000 people signed up on HealthCare.gov, the site that serves as the portal to Obamacare for 36 states.

The administration did not give any new information on the demographic breakdown of the enrollees, nor did it reveal how many enrollees were previously insured — two pieces of data that could give more insight into how successful the new marketplaces will be.

After HealthCare.gov’s disastrous launch in October, it seemed highly unlikely that the administration would enroll 7 million Americans in private insurance through the new marketplaces, as it aimed to do. Carney noted Tuesday that doubts about the central component of the Affordable Care Act predate the website problems.

“I have seen people say meaningful health care reform could not be done more times than I could count,” he said.

He also noted the Republican Party’s stalwart opposition to the program, from its inception through the ongoing midterm campaigns. “Republicans have spent millions on false ads, they’ve blocked Medicaid expansion in dozens of states… they’ve shut down the government,” he said. “That effort could not stop this law from working.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Tuesday maintained that the Affordable Care Act is a “catastrophe for the country.”

“What we do know is that all across the country our constituents are having an unpleasant interaction with Obamacare,” he told reporters. “Whether they can sign up for a policy or not, what they are discovering is higher premiums [and] higher deductibles.”

Mr. Obama on Tuesday scolded Republicans for their continued opposition.

“Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance?” he asked. “Many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked — there are still no death panels, armageddon has not arrived.

The president also put the debate in a historical context, remarking, “In the end, history is not kind to those who would deny Americans their basic economic security.”

Mr. Obama did acknowledge that “the law’s not perfect.”

“We’ve had to make adjustments along the way… and yes, at times this reform has been contentious and confusing, and obviously it’s had its share of critics,” he said. “That’s what change looks like in a democracy. Change is hard… but this law is doing what it’s supposed to do.”

The president also predicted more challenges in implementing the law. However, he said, “If we can stop refighting old political battles that keep us gridlocked, we can actually make the law work better for everybody.”

Democratic leaders in Congress similarly hailed the law’s success while acknowledging it is not perfect.

“This is a big bill, and if we had working partners as we used to with Republicans, there are other things we could do to work on this,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said of the law. “But [Republicans] have been determined to do nothing”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., similarly chastised the continued Republican opposition to the law. She said Democrats were committed to the ACA’s principles even as the law faltered and will stay committed to them, even through the election season.

“While the website didn’t work [initially], the principles of the legislation were very, very important and we’re wedded to them as we go forward,” she said.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • Lifestyle

    E. coli contamination leads to recall of dozens of food items in Alaska, U.S.

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 01, 16:42

    A Food and Drug Administration recall notice has some Alaska stores pulling products from their shelves to protect consumers from an E. coli outbreak. More than 70 items were listed in the recall notice following a multi-state E. coli outbreak originally linked to Costco chicken salad. At least one sample of the Celery and Onion Diced […]

  • Lifestyle

    VIDEO: Walker, Mallott reflect on first year in office

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 01, 16:21

    Video provided by the Office of the Governor On Dec. 1, Alaska’s new governor and lieutenant governor were sworn in to serve their first term. A year later, Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott sat down to share their thoughts on their first year as the state’s leaders.

  • Lifestyle

    Mark Zuckerberg makes astounding announcement on Facebook

    by Amy Kraft / CBS News on Dec 01, 15:48

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have a lot of great news to share today. On Zuckerberg’s Facebook page, the couple announced the arrival of their newborn baby girl, Max. “Priscilla and I are so happy to welcome our daughter Max into this world,” Zuckerberg wrote. In honor of their daughter’s birth, the couple pledged to donate 99 […]

  • Lifestyle

    Digital rights group alleges Google invades student privacy

    by Associated Press on Dec 01, 13:53

    Google is being accused of invading the privacy of students using laptop computers powered by the Internet company’s Chrome operating system. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, depicts Google as a two-faced opportunist in a complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission. Google disputes the unflattering portrait and says it isn’t doing […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage police investigate string of vehicle vandalisms

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 01, 13:26

    ANCHORAGE – Anchorage police are investigating more than a dozen vehicle vandalisms that started in the east part of town Monday afternoon and spread to midtown. In all, there was hundreds of dollars worth of damage to the vehicles, said Anchorage Police Department spokesperson Jennifer Castro in a statement. Residents reported that it appeared that […]

  • DayBreak

    On the couch with vlogger Cory Williams, Dec. 1

    by Daybreak Staff on Dec 01, 12:05

    Cory Williams, a.k.a. DudeLikeHELLA, joined Daybreak on the couch Tuesday morning to talk about some of his crazy family traditions. In Williams’ recent vlog, he shared his experience visiting his in-laws and their wacky tradition that’s been passed down over the years. “The opposum king or queen is, they’re sort of the ones in charge of […]

  • News

    Board votes to change residency requirement for Alaska marijuana business licensees

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 01, 11:58

    At a meeting Tuesday morning, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board voted to change the residency requirements for those looking to start up cannabis-related businesses in the state. The board will now require potential licensees to qualify for Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend in the year in which they seek a license, a change from a much less […]

  • DayBreak

    Travel Tuesday: Gifting experiences during the holidays

    by Daybreak Staff on Dec 01, 10:34

    Erin Kirkland, Daybreak’s family-fun expert, stopped by the show Tuesday to propose a twist on traditional gift giving. Rather than wrapping things, offer up activities instead, she says. Why go this route? According to the U.S. Travel Association, today’s working families are taking less time off than ever. “So what’s happening is this is translating into […]