By Justin Sink - 01/27/14 03:16 PM EST
The White House on Monday dismissed concerns by retiring Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who in a radio interview on Monday said he didn't think enough young, healthy consumers would purchase ObamaCare policies.
"I think they feel more independent, I think they feel a little more invulnerable than prior generations," Moran says. "But I don't think we're going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to financially."
Healthcare experts have warned of a so-called "death spiral" if too few young, healthy adults buy into the ObamaCare marketplace to offset the costs of insuring older and sick Americans.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said he hadn't seen the interview, but said that despite the "shaky rollout" of the ObamaCare website, the government was seeing "a significant surge in the percentage of young Americans under 35 enrolling."
"Those numbers are consistent with what we saw in Massachusetts," Carney said. "And if you ask the Republicans in Massachusetts who supported and, in one case signed, into law the health insurance reform, which is the closest thing to a model for the president's Affordable Care Act, they would say that that worked and that there -- the percentage of young people who enrolled was adequate."
Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services said that 30 percent of ObamaCare enrollees were aged 34 and under, and announced last week that 3 million individuals had purchased coverage. The administration originally projected that 7 million consumers would enroll, with 39 percent aged 18-34.
The White House also dismissed an imminent proposal from Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
"What I have seen in press reports suggests that that this looks very much like just another repeal proposal, another attempt to raise taxes on the middle class, to keep uninsured Americans with pre-existing conditions locked out of the market, to raise costs on seniors and to take away Medicaid from the millions of Americans who stand to gain coverage thanks to the expansion that was part of the Affordable Care Act," Carney said.