February 20th, 2014
09:40 AM ET
8 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. AceRyder

    Making it a legal requirement doesn't hurt the incentive to sign up.....

    February 20, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Craig

    Obama care was passed by 100% Democrats. Not one Republican voted for it
    As usual you hide the true facts.
    Oh, and how many if those 3.3 million have actually paid?

    February 20, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Steve

    Oh Joe, you are such a comedian. We needed reform and no pre-existing conditions. What we did not need was you and your ilk involved in our life. You and your ilk are already too involved and too controlling. Sadly you will be long gone by the time the fools in the USA that supported you realize what they were sold.

    February 20, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. My Own Private Idaho

    Or, as our esteemed Vice-President once quipped into the President's ear (and a hot mike): "It's a big ****ing deal!"

    February 20, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  5. Malory Archer

    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.

    I fail to see how this is bad for anyone but those who are heavily invested in healthcare, which shouldn't be a commodity traded on the stock market anyway.

    February 20, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  6. CryBabies

    Sure Joe...We believe the numbers. Keep pandering to the uninformed voters....you can sell them on anything. Seen too many friends/ acquaintances getting hit hard in the wallet on this debacle. "Job-lock and Passion" are my goals.

    February 20, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. MightyMoo

    Biden amuses me greatly, we need eight years of him as president. It would be boring without him.

    February 20, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. Malory Archer


    Does he still think it's a good start that people are increasingly receiving cancellation letters from their care providers?


    If your insurance is being cancelled, it was crappy to begin with.

    February 20, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. Larry L

    The right-wingers have consistently wished for bad economic news since the President took office. They seize every opportunity to spin hopeful news as evidence of catastrophic failure. That's about as unpatriotic and obstructive as it gets. They want Americans to fare badly so they can "be right" regarding their political viewpoints. From the beginning they ridiculed the term "hope and change" as if it was an evil concept. Still, we've put things back on course without their help.

    February 20, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. Tampa Tim

    I thought you red staters would be allowed to keep your junk policies for another year. Less than 3 million were supposed to have junk policies, but you wingnuts say that number is 30 million?

    February 20, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Obvious

    Ted Nugent is right.

    February 20, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. John

    Bumble biden said what?

    February 20, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. Know Your Subject

    Biden thinks it is a good start if he can remember the topic he is supposed to be talking about.

    February 20, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. DC Johnny

    Every economist, financial analyst, and even every Washington insider on both sides of the aisle have reiterated this exact realization: The number of healthy young individuals signing up for exchanges under Obamacare is woefully short of the quantity needed to come even close to sustaining this program.

    You hear that, liberals? This program is virtually destined for failure. Even your own party admits it, and is trying to distance itself from it for the upcoming midterm elections.

    Unsustainable, just like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Food Stamp program, the Postal Service.... and what do those have in common? You guessed it.

    February 20, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  15. Its a free country right?

    Biggest tax increase in the history of the country !

    February 20, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. CW

    And that tells you everything you need to know about a democrat's 'compassion' for others. It is nonexistent.

    February 20, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. resident

    Ever wonder if you got Biden and Ted Nugent together who would say the most outrageous thing first? Both of their "orbits" are growing more eccentric by the hour...

    February 20, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  18. RandyIA

    I thought there were 30 million uninsured, does that mean that of the 9% of the population this law was going to help. 20% of the 9% have signed up. So after all is said and done. All this regulation, and other laws crammed into this legislation 1.8% of the population has signed up. Now the question is, of that 1.8%, how many had coverage and lost it. How many are actually benefiting, and how many have been hurt, or forced into policies they don't need.

    February 20, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. Jambus

    I actually analyze this data. I don't have to speculate. The healthcare law is projected to miss targets. Why? Because most people that sign up don't actually cut a check and fund their insurance, making the sign up void. Sign ups DO NOT equal "people who now have insurance". Only those who fund it. Most people are not funding their policies.

    February 20, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Kyuuji

    If that's a "HeII of a start" I would hate to see how bad a failure would be....

    February 20, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. Beavis

    This is hilarious. I can't believe CNN is allowing all these negative comments on Obama care stand.

    February 20, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. Tampa Tim

    Are we to believe that the republican plan was better? No insurance for students up to age 26, no insurance for those with pre existing conditions, life time caps, increasing premiums every year for no reason, 45 million uninsured, no health care for those who are really poor, and outrageous bonuses for insurance bigwigs. Sounds like an ideal plan if you live in Somalia.

    February 20, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Enough is Enough

    So what about the people who lost insurance because of this law? Some estimates put the number of cancelled policies at over 7 million (yes, that's a fact....look it up) So Mr Vice-President, if 7 million had their insurance canelled, and you add 5 million via the healthcare exchanges you are still in the hole by 2 million. Yup, you're right – that is one hell of a start!
    Most of the people who "lost their insurance" also just happen to live in the red states that are not expanding Medicare. It seems that the residents of those states have fewer choices of health care plans to work with. Look that up.

    February 20, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. GSMITH

    Biden, are you for real. Obama Disaster Care is unworkable and Anti-American, This is America not some Communist Country. Democrats are ruining this Country. Vote 100% Republican in 2014 and 2016 and bring back America.

    February 20, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. Tampa Tim

    I don't think wingnuts understand exchanges. Medicaid eligible enrollees are not included in the number, nor are students up to age 26.

    February 20, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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