February 20th, 2014
09:40 AM ET
9 years ago

Biden on health care sign-ups: 'Hell of a start'

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that the Obama administration may fall short of its original unofficial target of signing up seven million people to the new health care law by the end of March. But the Vice President said that signing up five to six million would be a good start.

"Initially we talked about by the end of this period having seven million people lined up. We may not get to seven, we may get to five or six, and that's a hell of a start," Biden said Wednesday in Minneapolis.

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Biden made his comments at an unannounced stop at a coffee shop, where he visited with a group of women who had signed up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Biden was in Minnesota to headline a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.

Open enrollment to sign up for health insurance through the federal and state exchanges set up by the new law ends on March 31. After that deadline, people without insurance face federal tax penalties.

Numerous technical problems plagued key components of the federal exchange's initial rollout, as well as some of the state exchanges. The botched start-up fueled Republican attacks on Obamacare, which was passed by Congress in 2010, when Democrats controlled both chambers.

The government reported earlier this month that 1.1 million people signed up for health insurance through the exchanges in January, bringing to nearly 3.3 million the number of people who've signed up since the exchanges opened for business at the beginning of October.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projected that six million people would enroll in the exchanges for coverage in 2014.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: Joe Biden • Obamacare
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. Gpm

    He scares me, pure and simple.

    February 20, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Todor

    Hillary Benghazi , Kerry, Biden and Obama should have their own comedy reality show

    February 20, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. Malory Archer


    Biden, are you for real. Obama Disaster Care is unworkable and Anti-American.....


    My older daughter and her husband are paying $200 a month LESS than their previous plan for a much more comprehensive gold plan, and that's AFTER they added their newborn to their new plan. Additionally, their deductible has gone from $15k a year to $3k. They're going to use half of their $2400 to increase their contributions childrens' college funds, then they plan to put 25% in savings and the remaining 25% toward stimulating the economy!

    My younger daughter with a preexisting condition who couldn't get insurance at ANY price prior to the passage of the AHCA is paying a $58 a month for a silver plan with a $650 annual deductible.

    Perhaps you can enlighten me on how that is in ANY way "unworkable" of "Anti-American" ' cause I fail to see what the problem is, other than you're no longer going to be able to expect ever-increasing on your immoral health insurance stock.

    February 20, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. Eric

    I think he meant “hellish start.” Or maybe he really is proud that thus far the Obama administration has lied to millions about keeping their insurance (which helps to artificially inflate these numbers), has lied about 9 million having signed up during the state of the union address, botched the start because of numerous technical problems they ran into by hiring poor developers and had to delay several mandates within the laws because of the problems. Great work so far guys, keep it up!

    February 20, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. rick

    I'm totally surprised at how many people out there really believe its working? I'm beginning to see just how prevalent our mental health problem really is in this country.....

    February 20, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Josh

    The only question left is who is dumber? Biden or W?

    February 20, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Fair is Fair


    Biden would seem a whole lot more intelligent if he'd learn to keep his mouth shut.
    He can't help it. He just can't help it.

    Better to be thought of as a fool than to open your mouth and leave no doubt.

    February 20, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. annieL

    My 29-yr old son with Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes now has health insurance that covers 70% of his insulin, needles,and test strips that keep him alive and working for am employer who does not offer employee coverage. And it is affordable on his salary so that he can pay his rent and his student loan debt and maybe even start saving for a first home or a new car. He works his job AND a sideline business so he is no slacker. Before Obamacare, he couldn't even buy insurance at any price because of his diabetes. Anybody who thinks the old way was better doesn't speak for him. I thank God every day that President Barack Obama had the courage to stand up for what is right.

    February 20, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Jerry Okamura

    Accentuating the positive, ignoring the negative.

    February 20, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  10. jcostner

    Folks, do you REALLY think our former healthcare system was working? Why aren't the naysayers suggesting an alternative to Obamacare? If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

    February 20, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  11. Dee

    How about the people who had insurance they were happy with and lost it due to Obamacare?

    February 20, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Deac

    What a joke this guy is. Him and any other one linked to this administration

    February 20, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. sly

    Ha ha ha - "He's lying" "This is part of a huge conspiracy" "where's his birth certificate?"

    The sounds of squaking is the sound of losers. America is OUR country now!

    America: Love it or Leave it!

    Republicans – thank the good Lord that party of losers is going extinct. Going the way of the DoDo.

    February 20, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. tom l

    I'm just wondering how many of the liberals on here have actually gone on and signed up for heathcare through one of the sites. I did it for my girlfriend so I can speak from personal experience. Can any of you say the same?

    February 20, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. Charles

    Take away Medicaid and those who haven't actually paid, and the numbers are much closer to zero than seven million.

    February 20, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. MJLove

    I would like everyone to know that despite the challenges this program has faced, it IS working for MANY people, including myself! Ive worked at the same pre-school for 3 years, they do not offer health care and had no plans to despite our begging the owner. I signed up for insurance through The Washington State health plan finder, and just received my insurance cards in the mail last week, right on time because I am having problems with the arch of my foot and have been limping around like an old lady despite the fact that I am only 27 years old. So, thank you president Obama, youve saved me from having to pay $500 up-front to a rip-off walk-in clinic that takes advantage of people who dont have health insurance. I wouldve been sent home with a bottle of tylenol and thats it. So you all need to knock it off with your disgusting, dismissive vile remarks toward the ACA. It is WORKING and HELPING people like me!! And I can guarantee that ANYONE who is speaking out against it already have never walked a day in the shoes of the uninsured.

    February 20, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  17. Jetranger

    May have Signed up for it, but over 1/2 have NOT paid any premiums !! Big Difference !!

    February 20, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Roggy

    ...and 5 of those 6 million had their previous insurance canceled and were forced to the exchanges. Keep spinning those number democrats, eventually you may be able to change reality. OH, almost forgot, they are including the new medicare signups in that number, it's how they get the number higher. They just don't like to emphasize that small detail

    February 20, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. mjs56

    Exceptionally happy with my silver plan. $118 a month, $1000 deductible. Meds covered by the plan. Didn't have health insurance for 12 years. None of my employers offered it. My current employer doesn't offer it. Thank God for the ACA, I have insurance and peace of mind.

    February 20, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. mark

    If you want affordable insurance, eliminate the insurance companies and just pay as you go.

    Doctor's visits would drop to $20 and 99% of the waste would evaporate immeadiately, cause I won't pay $1,500 for an MRI when a Tylenol would get rid of my headache.

    As if insurance paperwork, home offices, forms and overhead of executives weren't enough, now I am TAXED and get to pay for how ever many thousands of life-long IRS agents, who work at minimal efficiency and get paid for life? Oh yeah – sure – this is going to save money – NOT!

    February 20, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Big_D

    The GOP is going to think this is an opportunity but we all know we wanted reform and the GOP did nothing but try to make it fail. Obama's plan had a public option, the GOP and Lieberman killed it and they don't want to own up to the problems they created. Healthcare will get fixed. The GOP is stupid and you can't fix stupid.

    February 20, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. Jay

    Obamacare is a bottomless money pit. This plan depends on healthy people subsidizing the unhealthy just as any other insurance plan does however right now, the unhealthy out number the healthy close to 3:1. So, where will the shortfall of money come from, constant tax payer bailouts to insurance companies to stay afloat, maybe expand medicaid to cover the middle class, or maybe create government run hospital/treatment centers? The ACA is a loser. The intent to try to expand medical coverage is a noble idea but my 4 year old nephew could have come up with a better plan.

    February 20, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. TheGander2

    Me and wife both have Pre-Existing Conditions( WE ARE NOT LIBERALS). ACA has been a "Life Saver."
    If the GOP and Insurance companies (greedy tards) had spent the time and monies to "Fight" ACA, think want they
    could have done if they had just work together to make the "System" better. I am not asking for a hand out, but a hand "up". I bid you Peace.

    February 20, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. JAKE

    The media excoriated Dan Quayle for misspelling one word in 4 years. This idiot says something stupid every time he opens his mouth and gets a free pass.

    February 20, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Madison

    My brother in law stopped by the other day. He was talking about how difficult getting some paperwork through the insurance company was. My wife asked him if he thought it was a problem with Obamacare. He said no, if were not for Obamacare they flat out would not have coverage. His wife has several pre existing conditions and lost her job with insurance last year. So although the do nothing insurance industry is still a drain of health care dollars and a source of great waste, the system now is exponentially better than the disaster we had BEFORE. You may recall how horrible it was BEFORE when insurer typically spent 35% of premiums on admin costs, mostly to figure out how to NOT pay for health care...and how they just dropped you if you got sick or had a pre existing......no, it is not perfect, but it is a hell of a start. Joe is right on.

    February 20, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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