Obamacare 1 Million Strong

Obamacare enrollment figures show improvement in the health care overhaul, but the real test is yet to come.

A healthcare reform specialist helps people select insurance plans at the free Affordable Care Act Enrollment Fair at Pasadena City College on Nov. 19, 2013 in Pasadena, California.
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After all of the partisan politics, the public reprimands by some Republican senators, the Obama administration's apologies and just as frequent denials, the numbers are finally out. The White House said Sunday that more than 1 million people have signed up for Obamacare, according to the Associated Press.

The bulk of consumers, 975,000, signed up for the Affordable Care Act in December, with enrollment doubling between the first few weeks of December and the week before the Christmas Eve deadline. The total is now more than 1.1 million, according to a blog post from the Department of Health and Human Services.

"We are in the middle of a sustained, six-month open enrollment period that we expect to see enrollment ramp up over time, much like other historic implementation efforts we've seen in Massachusetts and Medicare Part D," said Marilynn Tavenner, administrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

[READ: Obamacare Deadline Extended, Again]

The enrollment figures announced Sunday did not include the 14 states who run their own exchanges, noted the AP. The administration has not released those figures. Demographic information, such as the age of consumers, has also not been disclosed.

While these enrollment numbers are a stark improvement over enrollments in October and November, they fall far short of the 7 million consumers the administration had estimated will join Obamacare by its March deadline. The government website was plagued with initial glitches, forcing HHS to extend sign-up deadlines numerous times.

Still, the administration remains confident.

"There's no question that, over this past weekend, Monday, and Tuesday, HealthCare.gov met the mark and did exactly what it was supposed to do--helping Americans from across the country find secure, quality health insurance coverage at an affordable price," said Julie Bataille, director of communications for CMS.

[ALSO: Obamacare Weakens Insurance Mandate Again]

Christmas Eve saw a total of 880, 000 visits to healthcare.gov without any delays,, she added.

The true test of Obamacare will begin after Jan. 1 as new members begin visiting their doctors and hospitals for care. Both critics and supporters of Obamacare will be on high alert for evidence that the system is working or failing, just as they predicted.

"We're going to do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition period for consumers whose coverage begins on January 1. And we're going to continue to work to ensure every American who still wants to enroll in marketplace coverage by the end of the open enrollment period is able to do so, " Bataille said.

 

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