Lifestyle & Belief

106,000 enrolled in Obamacare through first month


Enrollment Specialist Horacio Castaneda, left, helps Rosa Ayala Cruz, right, apply for health benefits at the Denver Health Westside Family Health Center on Oct. 1, 2013 in Denver, Colo.


Chris Schneider

New data released Wednesday shows just over 106,000 people signed up for Obamacare in its first month of operation — a figure well below initial estimates.

Just 26,000 people managed to buy health insurance on the federal exchange in October, according to figures from the Health and Human Services Department.

More from GlobalPost: Obamacare insurance exchanges open amid delays, technical problems

Nearly 79,400 additional people signed up for coverage through state-based exchanges. California led the way, with nearly 35,400 selecting a new private insurance plan via Obamacare.

The numbers were disclosed after House Republicans spent the morning grilling White House tech experts and other administration officials about how the sites went so far awry, and what was being done to fix them.

The White House has spent weeks trying to lower expectations about enrollment.

But longtime Republican critics of the Affordable Care Act still pounced.

More from GlobalPost: Sebelius apologizes for 'miserably frustrating' Obamacare glitches

"This report is a symbol of the failure of the president’s health care law,” said House Speaker John Boehner.

The White House had hoped half a million people would sign up in the first month the site was active. 

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said interest remained "strong" and had no doubt enrollment numbers would only continue to grow as the technical issues improved.