Six million people have signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, according to the White House.
The Obama administration met its goal four days before the March 31 deadline and after saying it would extend it for anyone who could not complete the application process on time.
According to The Washington Post, President Barack Obama relayed the news via conference call while visiting Italy, where he met Pope Francis and the Italian president, as revealed in photos posted to Twitter.
The original estimate for the March 31 deadline was 7 million – but that was before Healthcare.gov’s disastrous launch, which took place just as the federal government shut down. Critics seized the opportunity to quickly deem the president’s law a failure as Americans struggled to even access the site, let alone shop around and purchase affordable health insurance.
Just last week, a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer discovered a glitch that may have prevented people from signing up online. It was apparently fixed by last Friday.
Yet for all of the setbacks, Thursday’s announcement was a win for the White House, even if it is a symbolic one. Obama saw his target – healthy young people – and appealed to their interests through snarky Internet talk-show spoofs hosted by celebrities from movies they wouldn’t watch with their parents, for one.
Obama’s appearance on Funny or Die’s Between Two Ferns alone boosted hits to Healthcare.gov by 40%.
Maybe it was just as some experts in the healthcare world predicted that, a la Romneycare in Massachusetts, there would be a rush to sign up right before the deadline, resulting in an enrollment increase.
After all, what is a Millennial but a 20-something who waits until the last minute to do anything?*
*Including this reporter.