Sebelius: No more ObamaCare delays

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, on the eve of the ObamaCare launch, told Fox News she doesn't anticipate any more delays for the health care law.

The secretary voiced confidence in the law as her department announced what it claimed was a "surge" in enrollment. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Tuesday that more than 2.1 million people have enrolled through the federal- and state-run marketplaces.

"I'm thrilled that we're going to have millions of people for the first time that have health security, and it should be a great New Year for lots of families across America," Sebelius told Fox News in an exclusive interview, as she left a downtown D.C. restaurant Tuesday afternoon.

Sebelius acknowledged there could continue to be hiccups going into 2014. "There always are," she said. "People change plans every year."

But she predicted a relatively smooth transition and said she doesn't see more delays in the future.

The administration, though, has announced a string of delays and exemptions over the last several weeks. Among the changes, the administration recently announced it would let people whose health care policies were canceled under ObamaCare buy bare-bones "catastrophic coverage" plans which would have otherwise been unavailable.

The requirement on mid-sized and large employers to provide insurance was also delayed by a year. Given all the changes being punched in the law, one Republican lawmaker has likened it to a "Jenga game."

A big part of the problem was the difficulty individuals had signing up through the slow, error-prone federal website.

But the secretary's remarks Tuesday marked a significant change in tone from just a few weeks ago when, during testimony on Capitol Hill, she agreed with a Republican congresswoman who called the launch of a "debacle."

The administration has scrambled to fix the technical problems with the site, though several states are still grappling with technical difficulties.

CMS announced Tuesday that December enrollment is "nearly 6 times that of October and November combined."

"We expect these numbers to continue to grow through the end of March when open enrollment ends," the agency said.

Republicans have signaled they're not impressed by the growth in enrollment.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Sunday that the surge is nothing to "celebrate."

"It was a failed [website] launch, a flawed law and it needs real change," he said.

With coverage beginning Jan. 1, the administration is hoping a total of 7 million sign up through the exchanges by March 31. That's when the federal government will begin to assess a penalty on those who do not buy health insurance, as required under the law.

Fox News' Kimberly Schwandt contributed to this report.