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4.7 million seek out Obamacare in first 24 hours

Just under 5 million people sought out Obamacare on Tuesday.
Barack Obama Speaking-Navy Yard Service
President Barack Obama speaks at a memorial service for the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting at Marine Barracks Washington Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

Just under 5 million people sought out Obamacare on Tuesday.

In the first 24 hours of enrollment of Obamacare, 4.7 million unique visitors visited the online healthcare marketplaces, 190,000 phoned call centers, and 104,000 requested to use the web chat function, the Department of Health and Human Services' spokesman Joanne Peters told MSNBC.

According to the Census Bureau, 48 million Americans were uninsured in 2012. That means that as many as 10% of America's uninsured may have sought out healthcare options on Tuesday, though many already insured Americans also likely surveyed Obamacare's options.

Lengthy wait times, online glitches, and error messages plagued Obamacare's opening day, but the president was quick to note that the high volume of interest was heartening.

“The reason is because more than 1 million people visited before 7 a.m.,” he said of the federal site's early-morning delays. “That gives you the sense of how important this is to Americans around the country.”

“While this overwhelming interest is continuing to cause wait times , there will be continuing improvements in the coming hours and days,” she added.

Similar volumes are expected on Wednesday, Peters said, but call wait times have already significantly improved.

In California, which saw site glitches early Tuesday morning Western time, state officials reported that 5 million page views occurred by 3 p.m., averaging 5000 per minute and peaking at 16,000 per minute.  From Tuesday night to early Wednesday, they turned off enrollment off temporarily to make site updates.

"Today is merely the starting line, not the finish line," the California insurance group, Covered California, declared in a press release from Tuesday night.