President Obama took a victory lap Tuesday after announcing that more than 7 million people have signed up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Roughly 7.1 million selected a plan before the enrollment deadline, Obama said, fueled by a last-minute surge on Monday. Obama used the announcement to criticize the law’s Republican critics, including governors who have rejected its Medicaid expansion and members of Congress campaigning on promises to repeal it.
“The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama said in a Rose Garden address.
The health care law remains politically unpopular, with public opinion falling along partisan lines, and Democrats up for reelection this year have made a point to distance themselves from Obamacare.
Nevertheless, Obama scolded Republicans for their opposition on Tuesday.
“Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance?” he said. “Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?
Clearing 7 million sign-ups is a big political victory for the White House — and the total will likely continue to grow before official enrollment numbers are released later this month.
The 7 million figure does not include people who enrolled Monday through state-based exchanges, White House press secretary Jay Carney said during his briefing Tuesday, and people who were “in line” for the federal exchange by midnight will be allowed to complete the enrollment process.
People can also enroll throughout the year if they become eligible by way of a change in circumstances, such as leaving a job.
“This law is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s working,” Obama said.
Before the disastrous HealthCare.gov launch, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the exchanges would cover 7 million people this year. CBO downgraded that to 6 million to account for the website’s troubles. And throughout, Republicans predicted that enrollment would fall short of either expectation.
The number of people who actually gained coverage through Obamacare’s exchanges will not be as high as the 7.1 million total Obama announced Tuesday. That figure refers to the number of people who have selected a plan, including those who didn’t go on to pay their first premium — the last step to actually getting covered.
It’s also not clear how many enrollees were previously uninsured — a key measure of the law’s success in reducing the number of uninsured Americans.
- 1 How Ron Wyden Banned Internet Taxes Forever
- 2 Obama’s Second-Term Agenda Hits a Roadblock: the Supreme Court
- 3 John Kasich Dismisses Climate Change As ‘Some Theory That’s Not Proven’
- 4 Obamacare Will Reduce Income Inequality, but Quietly
- 5 I Did Improv With the ‘Jeopardy Villain,’ and He’s Exactly as He Appears on Television
What We're Following See More »
Under pressure from a judge, the State Department will release about 550 of Hillary Clinton’s emails—“roughly 14 percent of the 3,700 remaining Clinton emails—on Saturday, in the middle of the Presidents Day holiday weekend.” All of the emails were supposed to have been released last month. Related: State subpoenaed the Clinton Foundation last year, which brings the total number of current Clinton investigations to four, says the Daily Caller.
UPDATED: Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) will not be playing the role of Ralph Nader in this year’s election. Speaking in Dallas today, Webb said, “We looked at the possibility of an independent candidacy. Theoretically, it could be done, but it is enormously costly and time sensitive, and I don’t see the fundraising trajectory where we could make a realistic run.”
“The leaders of the Republican and Democratic national committees on Wednesday weighed in on the prospect of an independent presidential run by” former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I). “DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz suggested that the former New York City mayor’s priorities are already ‘well cared-for’ in the Democratic platform, while RNC leader Reince Priebus welcomed the idea, saying Bloomberg would siphon off votes from the Democratic candidate.”
Three hundred fifty-two, thanks to superdelegates pledged to Clinton, and the vagaries of the delegate allocation process in early states. Not bad, considering her results have been a virtual tie and a blowout loss.