By Justin Sink - 02/04/14 03:24 PM EST
The White House on Tuesday brushed aside questions about a Congressional Budget Office report lowering estimates for first-year enrollment in the president's signature health care law, saying they remained “confident we're going to have a substantial number of Americans covered.”
The nonpartisan CBO downgraded its initial estimate of 7 million first-year enrollees in the president's signature health care law to 6 million, likely thanks to the botched early rollout of the law.
Carney added that the administration was “confident that we will have a substantial number of people having signed up and a good mix of people having signed up” by March 31, when the open enrollment period ends.
He also noted that the CBO estimate still projected that over time, the ObamaCare law would reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 25 million — leaving the ultimate impact of the program unchanged.
“Now that the website is functioning effectively, we're going to have a significant number of Americans, because of the demand for quality, affordable health insurance, signed up for that quality and affordable health insurance,” Carney said.
The White House spokesman also bragged about the CBO's findings on a controversial aspect of the ObamaCare law — the so-called “risk corridors” that help insurers cover higher-than-expected health care costs. The CBO estimated that the program would actually save $8 billion over the long term because insurance companies must pay the government if costs are lower-than-expected — which they are expected to be in coming years.