WASHINGTON, April 1 (Xinhua) -- More than 7 million people across the United States have signed up for medical insurance through exchanges set up by U.S. President Barack Obama's new health care program by Monday night's deadline, realizing the target set for the six-month enrollment period, the White House announced on Tuesday.
According to Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, the 7, 041,000 signed up by midnight did not count those who enrolled on Monday in the 14 states that run their own insurance exchanges, nor those who may yet sign up under an extension for those who tried but were unable to complete applications in time.
"We surpassed the seven million mark with the over 200,000 people who enrolled yesterday in states-run by the federal government alone," he said during a press briefing.
"When we get numbers in from the rest of the states, and people who were trying to sign up by the deadline and are finishing now, even more people will be covered," he added.
"It's fair to say we surpassed everyone's expectations, at least everyone in this room," the official noted.
From before the law passed, when such a transformation of the health care system was thought to be politically impossible, to the day that it reached the Supreme Court throughout an election year when it was principle subject of debate and from October last year when critics said the website could not recover, much less reach independent experts' predictions on how many people would sign up, he said, adding that even those independent experts lowered their experts.
The sign-up system, overwhelmed by computer problems when launched last fall, has been working much better in recent months and the website figure indicates that it was operating at full capacity on deadline day -- March 31, 2014.
Last Thursday, people signed up for Obamacare surpassed 6 million, still 1 million less than the 7 million goal.
On Monday, the network has become very busy since a flood of last-minute applicants rushed to sign up for the health insurance before the deadline, with thousands of people at a time using the fragile system, which was closed to new customers for two different periods of time due to technical problems.
As a result, some experts predicted that only about 6 million Americans would sign up before the deadline, saying that the goal may not be reached because of frequent network technical problems.