The Obama administration announced Tuesday that 2.1 million people had enrolled in health plans ahead of the start of new Obamacare exchanges in 2014, but officials could not say how many Americans had actually paid for their coverage.
“The new law is transformational for our entire health care system,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a conference call with reporters, announcing the new enrollment figures.
According to the administration, more than two million people have enrolled in health insurance plans through the federal and state exchanges, and 3.9 million Americans have “learned they’re eligible for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in October and November.”
The White House is attempting to reshape the Obamacare narrative after a brutal, problem-ridden rollout of President Obama’s signature domestic achievement diminished his standing with the public.
Obama has trumpeted improved performance by the healthcare.gov website, but the greater concern is whether insurers can lay the foundation for the largest overhaul to the health care system since Medicare.
Insurers have complained about not getting enrollees’ information and have raised doubts about receiving premium payments.
During the conference call with reporters, Sebelius and other administration officials also did not say what percentage of the 2.1 million enrollments were previously uninsured.
Republicans have argued that more Americans will lose health insurance than gain it on Wednesday as millions of consumers could be dropped from current plans because of new Obamacare regulations.
The White House counters that the public is slowly embracing the reforms and that the technical problems with Obamacare will soon become a distant memory.
Still, Obama and his top surrogates predicted that roughly 3.3 million people would enroll in Obamacare plans by the end of the year and that 7 million people would sign up by the end of March, the deadline to obtain insurance or pay a fine.
Sebelius acknowledged that not everyone seeking Obamacare coverage by Wednesday had been able to enroll.
“We’re committed,” Sebelius said, “to doing everything we can to make the transition as smooth as possible.”