POLITICS: PennAve

Joe Biden: People will be 'surprised' by how Obamacare turns out

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Politics,White House,Obamacare,Joe Biden,Health Care,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Health Care Exchanges

Vice President Joe Biden said that people would be “surprised” by how well Obamacare works, as the administration makes a last-minute push to sign up consumers in new insurance exchanges.

“Today is the deadline and I think everyone is going to be really surprised and pleased how well this has turned out,” said the vice president in an interview on the "Rachael Ray show" aired on Monday.

“Anybody who is in line now, anybody who is on the web, in person being interviewed and or on the telephone, they are able to — even if the deadline closes — to stay in line,” he added. “They can get into the system.”

“Get in the queue now,” said Biden. “There is still time today.”

Biden’s interview aired on the last day of the open enrollment period, with over 6 million consumers so far having signed up for federal and state insurance exchanges.

The administration is making a push to reach their initial target of 7 million, but were hit by another technical glitch when healthcare.gov went down for hours early Monday morning. An administration official said that the website had been restored by 8 a.m. Eastern time.

The administration, though, has already announced that they will allow applicants extra time to finish their enrollment if they claim that they began the process on March 31 but were unable to finish in time.

Critics say that the administration has no steps in to verify if late enrollments and has extended the deadline solely to meet their targets.

Officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last week said they were “not going to shut the door on people who were in line and could not get coverage through no fault of their own.” They declined to identify what steps they would take to verify the authenticity of late applications.

The administration over the weekend touted a surge of interest in the insurance exchanges and sign-ups, but critics say those figures are misleading and question how many have actually paid their first month’s premiums or were previously uninsured.

“I think people are going to be really, really surprised how well this turned out,” Biden stressed in the interview.

The vice president also made a pitch for young consumers, who are needed to enroll to keep costs down and balance the older, sicker patients expected to flock to the exchanges.

“Any young person listening, if you don’t need this for your peace of mind, do it for mom, do it for your dad,” urged Biden.

Figures suggest that 25 percent of enrollees are young, healthy consumers, short of the administration’s initial 40 percent target.

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