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MNsure, Obamacare Exceed Expectations

Updated: 04/01/2014 10:58 PM
Created: 04/01/2014 10:53 PM KAALtv.com
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Monday's Affordable Care Act deadline saw record-breaking turnout create an online traffic jam, clogging the problem-plagued website once again.

But both locally and nationally, results were better than expected.

MNsure reports nearly 170,000 Minnesotans signed up for health care coverage through the exchange, exceeding the goal of 135,000.

"We have come a long way over the course of the past few months,” said Scott Leitz, interim CEO of MNsure. “The enrollment numbers that we're announcing today are really reflective of the efforts that we've made and the progress that has been made."

Those feelings were echoed in Washington on Tuesday as President Obama took something of a victory lap.

“Despite several lost weeks out of the gate because of problems with the website, 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces,” President Obama said.

The president announced that despite problems during the rollout, enrollment surpassed even the White House's own expectations.

“The debate over repealing this law is over.” President Obama said. “The Affordable Care Act is here to stay!"

It’s a major political milestone for the Obama administration, but officials won't say how many of those who signed up are young and healthy, or previously uninsured, both seen as key measures of the law's success.

“That breakdown is sufficient to ensure that the marketplaces will effectively function,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.

White House officials credit their social media blitz and outside the box pitches for a last minute surge in sign-ups.

In Minnesota, officials took nearly 28,000 calls on Monday with callers spending an average of 31 minutes on hold.

Another 36,000 Minnesotans filled out enrollment attempt forms, although officials don't know how many finished the process.