POLITICS: PennAve

Kathleen Sebelius: Obamacare enrollment at 7.5 million

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Health Care,PennAve,Kathleen Sebelius,Meghashyam Mali,Health Care Exchanges,HHS

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told lawmakers Thursday that enrollment in Obamacare's insurance exchanges has now hit 7.5 million.

Sebelius told the Senate Finance Committee that 400,000 people signed up last week to add to the 7.1 million who completed applications before the March 31 deadline.

The administration's rollout of Obamacare's insurance exchanges was plagued with troubles, beginning with the glitch-ridden healthcare.gov website, leaving many to question if they would reach their 7-million target. But a tech surge to fix the site and promotional efforts saw the administration top their goal.

Critics noted that the enrollment period was marked by numerous delays of key provisions and that sign-ups were also extended for those consumers who claimed they had begun the process but were unable to finish by midnight on March 31.

Republicans slammed the move, noting that there were no measures to verify late applicants.

Despite the 7.5 million total, the administration is short of the percentage of young, healthy consumers they needed to keep health costs down.

Questions also remain about how many of those who signed up for insurance were previously uncovered and how many have actually paid their premiums.

But Democrats have taken a victory lap, with President Obama saying that the health law as now “here to stay” despite GOP vows to repeal his signature domestic initiative.

“The debate over repealing this law is over,” Obama said at a White House event marking the end of open enrollment. “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”

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