Obama predicts enrollment 'close' to 7 million

President Obama predicted the administration would end up "reasonably close" to the 7 million people that the Congressional Budget Office originally projected would enroll in private insurance plans through ObamaCare during the program’s first year.


"We admittedly had just a terrible start because the website wasn't working, and despite losing effectively two months, we are going to be reasonably close to that original projection," the president said in an interview with CBS News taped during his visit to Rome last week.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney predicted that final enrollment numbers would be "substantially larger" than the 6 million announced by the president last week.

The Department of Health and Human Services said there had been some 1.6 million visits to the HealthCare.Gov website as of 2 p.m. on Monday, along with more than 840,000 calls to the toll-free ObamaCare hotline.

That's in addition to more than 2 million phone website visits and over 380,000 phone calls over the weekend. A White House official on Sunday said there had been more calls over the past week than the entire month of February.

The president also indicated that the administration had succeeded in targeting more so-called "young invincibles" — healthy young adults — who would help balance costs.

"In terms of the mix, what we've seen as we anticipated is that more young people are signing up late than early," Obama said. "But, given how gloomy I think everybody's assessment was back in the middle of November, I'd say that we're on our way to making sure that no American ever has to go without health care."

On Monday, Carney said the White House was "confident" it would get enough young and healthy voters to prevent demographic imbalances among enrollees from "overly negatively impacting prices and premiums."

"I think that reflects what we had been saying was almost certainly going to be the case, which is there would be a surge at the end, as there was in December, because people respond to deadlines, and that young and healthy people in particular would wait the longest before signing up because that’s kind of what young people do," Carney said.

The interview with the president was taped before the final day of enrollment, during which the enrollment system was twice temporarily knocked offline due to technical errors.

The president, who returned Saturday from a week-long trip through Europe and the Middle East, did not make any public appearances in support of the law on the final day of open enrollment.

He did, however, post a personal tweet to the White House account encouraging consumers to enroll.