• 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

  • Sports

    UAA indoor track and field adapting with Dome out of commission

    by Dave Goldman on Jan 24, 11:39

    The collapse of The Dome has the University of Alaska Anchorage indoor track and field team running back home. “We’re going to focus on what we can do, not what we can’t do,” said head coach Michael Friess, who’s now in his 27th season. “We’re going to train hard and fortunately we’re in a sport […]

  • Sports

    Stielstra, Neese will run Yukon Quest following decision by rules committee

    by Dave Goldman on Jan 24, 10:24

    Ed Stielstra is an Iditarod veteran. The 47-year-old’s first of eight races was in 2004. But as a first-time Yukon Quest racer, he’s considered a rookie, and was required to appear at a pre-race vet check Monday morning. According a press release by the Yukon Quest, Stielstra arrived late and was withdrawn from the race […]

  • News

    Trump signs executive actions advancing Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines

    by CBS/AP on Jan 24, 8:33

    Donald Trump signed executive orders Tuesday, including two that would advance the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, a pair of projects that were blocked by the Obama administration due in part to environmental concerns. As he signed the memo, the president said of the Keystone XL pipeline that it was “something’s that’s been in […]

  • Lifestyle

    2017 Oscars: And the nominees are…

    by CBS News on Jan 24, 7:33

    Last Updated Jan 24, 2017 10:30 AM EST The coveted list of nominees for the Oscars were announced Tuesday morning from Hollywood. “La La Land” led the pack with 14 nominations. Academy unveils big changes for announcing Oscar nominations Former Oscar nominees, including Jennifer Hudson, Gabourey Sidibe and Guillermo Del Toro, talked about what it was like […]

  • 2 men taken to hospital after Muldoon shooting; 1 in critical condition

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 24, 5:19

    Police say two men were taken to the hospital after an overnight shooting in Muldoon. The Anchorage Police Department was called to the area of Muldoon Road and E. 12th Court just after 1 a.m. Further investigation revealed the shooting happened down the street near the 100 block of Muldoon Road, says APD Lt. John McKinnon. One […]

  • News

    New housing development set to break ground near downtown Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 23, 22:53

    Plans for a new housing project near downtown Anchorage are well underway, according to its developer.  Known as Downtown Edge, the development is part of a larger project designed to improve an area between downtown and the Port of Anchorage. Downtown Edge will consist of 28 townhouses that will boast a view of Mount Susitna, […]

  • News

    Anchorage skier killed by avalanche in Canada

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 23, 22:50

    A 32-year-old Anchorage woman died in Canada Saturday morning after she and two friends were caught in an avalanche. The group had been skiing in the back country near Qua Peak in British Columbia when the avalanche occurred, according to a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). “The three were described as experienced […]

  • Troopers: Home invasion turns into homicide investigation

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 23, 21:29

    What was initially reported by Alaska State Troopers as a home invasion and shooting has since become a homicide investigation. In an online dispatch published Monday morning, troopers said the incident was reported at 8:47 p.m. on Sunday in Soldotna. One person was injured and taken to Central Peninsula Hospital with life-threatening injuries, the Peninsula […]