Obamacare signups surge past 7 million

WASHINGTON — After facing a rocky start and chorus of naysayers who declared his health care law a failure, President Barack Obama on Tuesday celebrated a better-than-expected 7.1 million sign-ups for health coverage that he said should end the debate over whether the law should be repealed.

“The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama declared in a feisty Rose Garden speech the day after the deadline for Americans to enroll.

Obama announced the 7 million threshold that once was seen as unattainable, even as the number still could climb. People who started applying but couldn’t finish before the Monday midnight deadline can have extra time, as do potential enrollees whose special circumstances kept them from signing up in time.

Administration officials said they were still compiling data that will be important in determining the ultimate success of the six-month enrollment period, such as how many enrollees were previously uninsured and whether enough younger, healthy people signed up to offset the costs of covering older, sicker consumers.

But Obama said after the initial computer problems that plagued the online insurance exchanges where people could sign up, the law was working as he had hoped.

“The bottom line is this: 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,” the president said.

“As messy as it’s been sometimes, as contentious as it’s been sometimes, it’s progress,” Obama said.

Obama lashed out at critics who still argue that the law should be repealed. “I don’t get it,” he said. “Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance? 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. Instead, this law is helping millions of Americans, and in the coming years it will help millions more.”

The law is at the center of competitive congressional races across the country. Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, argued that the law was harming the American people.

“Every promise the president made has been broken: Health care costs are rising, not falling,” Steel said. “Americans are losing the doctors and plans that they like — especially seniors suffering under President Obama’s Medicare cuts. Small businesses are afraid to hire new workers, hobbling our economic growth. That’s why we must replace this fundamentally-flawed law with patient-centered solutions that will actually lower health care costs and help create jobs.”

More in Local News

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Their grown children died, but state law won’t let them sue

Families are seeking a change in the state’s limiting wrongful-death law.

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Marysville hit-and-run leaves man with broken bones

The state patrol has asked for help solving an increasing number of hit-and-run cases in the state.

Everett man killed at bar had criminal history, gang ties

A bar employee reportedly shot Matalepuna Malu, 29, whose street name was “June Bug.”

Front Porch

EVENTS Autoharpist in Everett Folksinger, storyteller and autoharp virtuoso Adam Miller returns… Continue reading

Shock from WSU suicide ripples through Snohomish County

Roughly 1 in 10 seniors, sophomores and 8th-graders said they had attempted to take their own lives.

$1,000 reward for info on who killed an eagle near Snohomish

After being shot, the raptor was treated at the Sarvey Wildlife Center but died overnight.

Most Read