U.S.
Mike Segar/Reuters

Pelosi: More than 7 million signed up for Obamacare

Democratic House leader said White House would announce health care program goal had been reached

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that the Obama administration would announce more than 7 million people had signed up for the health care program, signaling that Obamacare would hit its stated enrollment target.

Pelosi, speaking to reporters at the White House after a meeting with President Obama, noted that the figures were not yet official. 

March 31, the day of the sign-up deadline, saw a surge in consumer interest — but also computer glitches that slowed down the process.

At times, the website was strained past its capacity, with over 125,000 people simultaneously accessing HealthCare.gov. 

People who haven't started the process of signing up for health insurance by March 31 — either through their jobs or on their own — are subject to fines from the Internal Revenue Service.

The ACA's federal and state health care exchanges offer private health insurance options for those who are not offered coverage by their employers. Fourteen states and Washington, D.C. run their own exchanges, while the federal government runs the other 36 states.

Some states chose not to create their own exchanges, such as Texas, a state with the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Austin, Texas on Friday as part of a final push to get people signed up for coverage. 

Sebelius said roughly 25 percent of Texans, or 5 million people, are without health insurance, and that half would qualify under the ACA's expansion of Medicaid.

Unfortunately, she said, Texas' leadership hasn't accepted the ACA's optional federal funding that would expand Medicaid coverage for working Texans with the lowest incomes. 

Sebelius said the state government hasn't been helpful in getting people signed up, and in fact had been fueling misinformation about the program.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry shot back at Sebelius' remarks, saying that the more people learn about the federal health care law the less they like it.

"Yet again, the Obama administration would rather point fingers at other people than accept any of the responsibility for Obamacare's failure," Perry said in a statement.

Al Jazeera and wire services

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