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President Barack Obama, wearing a green tie and with shamrock in the breast pocket of his suit, makes a statement to reporters during his meeting with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday.

Obama: Health care program stable

WASHINGTON (AP)  Despite a disastrous start and relentless Republican opposition, President Barack Obama said Friday that enrollment in his signature health care program is high enough to make it stable for the millions who have signed up.

"We look forward to seeing more and more people take advantage as some of the politics of the thing get drained away, as people start feeling more confident about the website," the president told WebMD in his latest, less-than-conventional  attempt to spread the gospel about the law known by his name.

The president's remarks were made public as House Republicans held the 51st vote in 38 months to repeal or undermine the law, and the first since they won a fiercely contested election for a House seat in Florida this week in a race that featured health care as an issue. The measure calls for a delay in imposing penalties on individuals who fail to purchase health care under the law.

The vote was 238-181, with all Republicans in favor and all but a dozen Democrats opposed. The bill faces certain death in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

In addition to attacking the president's health care law, the legislation would overhaul the system for paying doctors and others who treat Medicare patients. By itself, the makeover in the payment system enjoys widespread support among lawmakers in both parties as well as from medical organizations. It is designed to end a cycle of uncertainty that has periodically threatened providers with abrupt cuts in their reimbursements.

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