Obama: health care sign-ups have topped 8 million

Obama: health care sign-ups have topped 8 million

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Obama: health care sign-ups have topped 8 million

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by David Jackson and Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY

KING5.com

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 17 at 12:54 PM

President Obama said Thursday that a total of 8 million people signed up for health care exchange policies during the initial enrollment period that ended March 31.

"The Affordable Care Act is now covering more people at less cost" than many predicted, Obama said during a news conference statement in the White House press room.

The president also expressed condolences for the victims of the South Korea ferry disaster.

Obama spoke shortly after meeting with a group of state insurance commissioners, some of whom reported that the president cited a rush of young people -- under the age of 35 -- signing up late.

The news follows a busy week on the health care front.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last Thursday she would step down from her post, the same day she told the House Finance Committee that the exchanges had enrolled at least 7.5 million people -- 1.5 million more than the Congressional Budget Office's projected in February, and half a million more than the office originally projected.

Obama has nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, current director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace Sebelius at HHS.

On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that it expects as many as 5 million people to enroll directly through private insurers, beyond the exchanges set up under the new law. That's in addition to the 8 million Obama said have now signed up.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act, meanwhile, say they're still waiting to hear how many people pay for their policies, if enough healthy people have enrolled to make the exchanges financially workable in the future, and how many of the enrollees use a month's worth of benefits to cover medical procedures they couldn't afford before but then don't continue to pay for their insurance.

In its Monday report, the CBO said it included only those it expected to follow through on payments in its projections.

Congressional Republicans continue to criticize the law, saying it will lead to higher costs and worse health care for most Americans.

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