The nation’s controversial health care exchange has enrolled 11.4 million Americans in its second year of existence, according to figures released by the White House on Feb. 17.
The Obama administration’s initial figure target was 9 million, although the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated 13 million for the sophomore year of the legislation.
According to CNN, “Consumers raced to apply before open enrollment ended Sunday, with more than a million people picking plans in the final nine days.”
However, falling short of the CBO’s previous estimates has signaled to some analysts that the health care exchange hasn’t been performing as well as many would have hoped by its second year.
The ObamaCare website has also seen a number of changes and improvements since the new Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS), Sylvia Mathews Burwell, took over the position from Kathleen Sebelius in the summer of 2014.
Under Sebelius, the Affordable Care Act’s website, HealthCare.gov, was routinely plagued with criticism for consistently failing to function or handle the amount of traffic that was being directed online. Moreover, Sebelius’ defense of her work, or lack thereof, allowed for numerous talking points for Republicans looking to use the disastrous rollout of the website as a tool against the administration.
Secretary Burwell took a different approach to advertising the legislation. She focused more on television advertisements during highly rated NFL games, online radio stations like Pandora, and utilized popular celebrities, such as Kerry Washington, to promote the website and its message.
While the Obama administration is celebrating the enrollments, some lawmakers are pressuring the White House to create a grace period for those who still do not have health insurance but will start to pay the mandatory fines during the current tax season.
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