White House admits lower-than-expected enrollment

Initial Affordable Care Act enrollment won't be as high as the administration expected due to the faulty federal website rollout, White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer said in an interview with ABC News.

"I can promise you that the first enrollment numbers which will be released later this month are not going to be what we want them to be," Pfeiffer told ABC. "The website hasn't worked the way we want it to work. But we take responsibility for that ... we take responsibility for fixing it," he said. "The good news here is [in] the history of programs like this ... people sign up toward the end."

Only six people enrolled in health plans through HealthCare.gov on its first day of operation, based on documents released by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, NBC News reported.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius blamed contractors for the exchanges' troubled rollout while fielding questions before Congress last week. Sebelius said an outside task force of technical gurus is working to fix the flaws.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration hasn't released official enrollment figures. "We will release enrollment statistics on a monthly basis after coordinating information from different sources, such as paper, online, and call centers, verifying with insurers, and collecting data from states," HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in an email to NBC. [W]e are focused on providing reliable and accurate information and we do not have that at this time. ... We have always anticipated that the pace of enrollment will increase throughout the enrollment period."

Peters cited statistics from the statewide health insurance launch in Massachusetts: In the first month of open enrollment in 2007, 123 people enrolled, but by the second month that number jumped to 2,289, and eventually more than 36,000 signed up in the first year, NBC noted.

For more:
- here's the ABC News article (video included)
- see the NBC News article

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