"Obamacare" enrollment surges, still below government goals
WASHINGTON (CNN) - There's been a surge in enrollment in the federal health care program, but the numbers still fall short of the Obama administration's goal for January 1.
Health officials say more than 1.1 million people enrolled in health plans through the federal exchange between October 1 and December 24, with nearly 1 million of those in December alone.
Lauren Reisig, a 27-year-old marketing director from McLean, Va., suffers from Chron's disease. She enrolled with the help of a government call center after running into trouble with HealthCare.gov. Starting January 1, her premium will drop from $1,300/month to $400/month.
"It gives me the option to possibly finally move out of my parents' house at age 27," said Reisig.
The government will release more complete numbers - including figures for Medicaid and state-run marketplaces - next month.
Not everyone is celebrating the numbers. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) says too many people will be getting government-subsidized care.
"There's 318 million Americans, 1 million getting on subsidized health care or - in many cases - probably another million getting on Medicaid as a result of Obamacare and 6 million people had plans they liked and are now thrown off of it," said Rep. Issa. "I don't think there's anything to celebrate.
While the surge in enrollment is good news for the Obama administration, it will likely still fall short of the goal to sign up 3.3 million by January 1. Those who missed last week's deadline for coverage to start in January will have until January 15 to sign up for plans that start February 1.
Open enrollment ends March 31.