WASHINGTON--More than 7 million people have signed up for health care coverage through federal and state exchanges created under President Obama's signature health care law, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi confirmed Tuesday
With the announcement that came hours after the March 31 deadline to sign up for coverage, the Obama administration has cleared the initial projection for enrollees set by the Congressional Budget Office--a goal that had seemed out of reach after a rocky launch to the online federal marketplace last fall.
After meeting with President Obama at the White House on Tuesday, Pelosi said that "over 7 million people" have signed up for health care.
"Many more people now have affordable, quality health care," Pelosi said.
Obama is set to deliver remarks at 4:15 p.m. in Rose Garden about the Affordable Care Act.
After a surge of last-minute enrollment on Monday--the technical deadline to sign up for health care or face a penalty--administration officials began expressing confidence that they would meet or exceed the 7 million mark for signups.
The announcement was embraced as hopeful news by Democrats facing reelection in November, who had been feeling the weight of Obama's low popularity numbers and Republican attacks on the law.
But Mo Elleithee, the Democratic National Committee communications director, noted that public opinion over the health care law has slowly been turning in favor of Democrats. On Monday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that support for the law hit a record high at 49%.
"For years, Republicans have been jumping up and down, breathlessly screaming that the Affordable Care Act would be a "disaster," Elleithee wrote in an e-mail to reporters "Guess what? APRIL FOOL'S! The joke is on them."
Pelosi predicted health care won't hurt Democrats at the polls.
Democrats are "proud" of the law, she said, and "our members are out there on the offensive on this issue."
She said jobs should be the main issue in the congressional elections, and she attacked the new Republican budget.
"Elections are always about jobs," Pelosi said, and the health care law will help create jobs.
She never worried that law would "collapse." While the website problems were "an embarrassment," Pelosi said, that problem "is over."