• 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

  • News

    Memorial Day a weekend-long affair for Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club

    by Heather Hintze on May 29, 19:41

    For members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club, Memorial Day isn’t just a Monday off from work; it’s a weekend-long celebration to remember the fallen. On Sunday, hundreds of bikers from around the state met at Mary’s McKinley View Lodge then road the Parks Highway to the Alaska Veterans Memorial. They’ve been doing the Byers […]

  • Sports

    Sports writer loses job over tweet on Japanese Indy winner

    by Associated Press on May 29, 16:52

    DENVER (AP) – A veteran sports writer is no longer working with The Denver Post after he posted on Twitter that he was “uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend.” Terry Frei sent the tweet after Takuma Sato on Sunday became the first Japanese driver to win the race. […]

  • News

    First cruise ship of the summer docks at Port of Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 29, 16:42

    The first cruise ship to dock at the Port of Anchorage this summer pulled into town early Monday morning. Nearly 1,400 passengers disembarked from Holland America’s ‘Amsterdam’ to check out the sights before an 11 p.m. call to be back on the ship. Julie Saupe, president of Visit Anchorage, said the cruise industry in the […]

  • News

    Volunteers place markers in Anchorage cemetery to honor fallen soldiers

    by Dave Leval on May 29, 15:43

    Wenda Sudduth and others from American Legion Post 1 found the going not so easy at Anchorage’s Memorial Park Cemetery. They went on a quest Sunday to pay tribute some of our nation’s most honored dead. They placed religious markers at the grave sites of those who served in the nation’s military. “I come from a […]

  • News

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says Denali name should remain

    by Associated Press on May 29, 10:58

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the name for America’s tallest mountain should remain Denali. The News-Miner reports that he spoke at the Fairbanks International Airport late Saturday on his way to a Memorial Day ceremony in Denali State Park. The peak was once called Mount McKinley, named after President William McKinley. […]

  • Police: Tiger Woods arrested in Florida for DUI

    by Associated Press on May 29, 10:52

    JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – Tiger Woods says an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine led to his arrest on a DUI charge in Florida. Woods spent nearly four hours in the Palm Beach County Jail after being arrested early Monday on suspicion of DUI. The 14-time major champion says in a statement that alcohol wasn’t involved. […]

  • News

    Interior Secretary Zinke focuses on energy, parks during Alaska visit

    by Heather Hintze on May 29, 10:29

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is in Alaska for his first visit to the state since his confirmation to the position in March. His first public appearance included a ride to the Alaska Veteran’s Memorial on the George Parks Highway with the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club for their 29th annual Memorial Run. “I think it’s important on […]

  • News

    North Korea launches short-range ballistic missile, U.S. military says

    by CBS News on May 28, 19:06

    North Korea on Sunday launched a short-range ballistic missile, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The missile was tracked for six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The White House said President Trump had been briefed on the launch. This is the ninth missile test North Korea has […]