With Obamacare enrollment now at 8 million, President Barack Obama said the partisan debate over the controversial healthcare law should finally come to a close.
The Obama administration’s original target for health coverage on the government-run exchanges was 7 million enrollees — for the first year of the mandate for individuals to carry insurance.
The Affordable Care Act — dubbed Obamacare by the GOP — has produced the largest increase in healthcare coverage that the United States has seen since Medicare and Medicaid were rolled out.
“This thing is working,” Obama said during an unexpected announcement at the White House briefing room. “The repeal debate is, and should be, over. We’ve been having a political fight about this for five years. We need to move on to something else.”
The first enrollment period ended in March, but people with ongoing coverage applications that were started before that date had until this week to finalize them.
The final surge of enrollments came heavily from California, which signed up more than 200,000 consumers in the last two weeks, state officials said Thursday. Those late arrivals brought the state’s total to nearly 1.4 million people, far ahead of all other states.
Estimates of the total increase in insurance coverage nationally are still preliminary, but new Gallup survey data released this week suggest that as many as 12 million previously uninsured Americans have gained coverage. That number includes people who signed up on the new marketplaces, but also those who acquired insurance through the law’s expansion of Medicaid, through their employers or directly from insurers.
The healthcare law stumbled out of the gate with significant website problems that rendered users unable to sign up. Several states also had website issues on their exchanges, further complicating the problem.
While House Republicans have voted to kill or dismantle the Supreme Court-approved healthcare law on numerous occasions, the GOP now faces a mounting problem: Taking away a program that million have, rely on, and are benefiting from.
Tweeted Republican Sen. Ted Cruz: The repeal debate is far from over.