Utah lawmakers call White House's ACA celebration premature

WASHINGTON D.C. (ABC 4 News) - The White House is celebrating after early numbers show enrollment for Obamacare surpassed its original target of seven million people.

The closing number of total enrollees on deadline day is considered the first real test for Pres. Obama's signature legislative achievement. The latest tally -- 7.1 million Americans signed up for the Affordable Care Act in its six-month enrollment period.

“The law is doing what it's supposed to do, it's working,” said Pres. Obama during a Rose Garden address Tuesday.

The president also noted the “tall tales” that he says have been debunked. “There are still no death panels. Armageddon has not arrived,” said Pres. Obama.

But Utah leaders in Washington say not so fast-- Americans aren't getting the full story.

In a statement to ABC 4 Utah, Sen. Mike Lee writes the law has, “been a dismal failure in almost every respect, so I do find it very, very frustrating that anyone is trying to celebrate this law as a victory for the American people."

Sen. Orrin Hatch is waiting for more details on the enrollees, such as the ratio of young and healthy to old and sick, how many of them previously had insurance and how many of them have paid their first premium -- which is what constitutes actually being enrolled.

“They haven’t listed how many of these were paid, how many of them paid for it, how many of them had insurance before,” said Sen. Hatch, R-Utah. “These are details that really ought to be given before they take credit for the success of the program.”

Rep. Chris Stewart is also skeptical whether the ACA has reached its main goal of getting more people insured.

“75 percent of people who enrolled in Obamacare already have insurance, again the point was to try to issue it to those who didn't have it before and the law is just not making that goal,” said. Rep. Stewart, R-Utah.

And so one day after open enrollment closes, critics and proponents continue to disagree, even over whether the debate should continue.

“The debate over repealing this law is over,” said Pres. Obama.

“We need to repeal Obamacare,” said Stewart.

Sen. Hatch said he thinks a repeal at this point would be difficult, unless Republicans win big in November's midterm elections.

“If the Republicans takes over the Senate and keep control of the House, and I think these are real probabilities, then the president is going to have to wake-up and say I’ve got to work with these people,” said Hatch.

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