President Barack Obama has announced six million people have signed up for medical insurance under his healthcare law – dubbed Obamacare – meeting the administration’s goal.
The White House’s initial goal was seven million, but this was revised amid last autumn’s disastrous launch.
Public support for the Obamacare is at its lowest – 26% of Americans back it – found a new Associated Press-GfK poll.
The first “open enrolment” period during which Americans can sign up for a health insurance plan ends on March 31, though the Obama administration has extended the deadline for some people who continue to have trouble applying.
On Thursday, Barack Obama spoke on the phone from Italy with several thousand volunteers and workers who are guiding Americans through the often confusing process of signing up for insurance online.
“The president thanked the group for all their hard work to date and discussed the importance of building on this progress over the last four days of open enrolment,” the White House said in a statement.
“The president encouraged the navigators and volunteers to redouble their efforts over the next four days and leave no stone unturned in trying to bring affordable health coverage to as many Americans as possible by the March 31 deadline.”
Obamacare was crippled at its October rollout by technical glitches, but it seems to have largely overcome those problems.
The 2010 law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is intended to extend health insurance to the roughly 48 million Americans who do not receive it through their employers, the government, or a privately purchased plan.
It also aims to slow the growth in the cost of healthcare.
Among its central provisions are online marketplaces called exchanges run by the states and by the federal government on which individuals can purchase health insurance plans, sometimes with generous subsidies.
Under the new law, Americans who go without health insurance in 2014 and beyond pay a penalty.
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