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Obama: The Affordable Care Act Is Working, 'Helping People... Coast To Coast'

Posted: April 1, 2014

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President Obama gave an impassioned defense of his signature legislation after announcing 7.1 million Americans had signed up by the end of the law's first open enrollment.

The HealthCare.gov website has been a source of delays and confusion for those trying to sign up for health insurance under the ACA.

The HealthCare.gov website has been a source of delays and confusion for those trying to sign up for health insurance under the ACA. Jon Elswick

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act as Vice President Joe Biden watches in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday.

President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act as Vice President Joe Biden watches in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday. Win McNamee

This post was updated at 4:40 p.m. ET. with Obama's comments.

President Obama emerged from the White House on Tuesday to rousing applause. He announced that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the federal exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act.

"This law is doing what it's supposed to do," Obama said at the Rose Garden. "It's working. It's helping people from coast to coast."

Seven million was the White House's initial projection, but the rollout of the exchanges has been messy. HealthCare.gov, for example, was essentially useless for weeks after it was launched in October.

Because of that the White House brought its projection in line with the Congressional Budget Office's 6 million figure.

During his speech, Obama acknowledged that the law wasn't perfect and that the rollout wasn't perfect, but the first six months are "a step forward."

"Bottom line is this: Under this law the share of Americans with insurance is down" and the growth of the cost of health care is down, Obama said.

He went on to deliver an impassioned defense of his signature legislation, saying Obamacare has made health care in the United States better and it had affirmed the "dignity and worth" of millions of Americans.

"That's what the Affordable Care Act is all about," Obama said, "making sure that all of us... can count on the security of health care when we get sick."

Obama said the 7.1 million Americans who signed up for coverage, as well as the millions more who are now covered because of other ACA measures, including the Medicaid expansion, have endorsed the law.

As we've reported, at various points, analysts questioned whether the White House would meet its projections. But as the website problems were fixed, enrollment picked up and March became a blockbuster month for the new health care exchanges. The pace of enrollments continued to pick up as the open enrollment deadline of March 31 approached. Some Americans faced fines if they did not sign up for insurance.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said during his regular press briefing that about 200,000 people signed up Monday, bringing the total number of enrollees to 7.04 million by midnight last night.

It is not clear how many of those 7.04 million have paid for coverage.

The 7.1 million Obama used is an updated number.

Update at 4:27 p.m. ET. ACA Is Working:

President Obama emerged from the White House to rousing applause. He announced that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health care through the federal exchanges set up by Obamacare.

"This law is doing what it's supposed to do," Obama said at the Rose Garden. "It's working. It's helping people from coast to coast."

Update at 4:06 p.m. ET. President Obama To Speak:

President Obama is scheduled to deliver remarks at 4:15 p.m. ET. We're watching and we'll update this post with his comments.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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