BUSINESS

Amid website woes, Obama admin. lowers expectations of strong initial health care sign-ups

10/29/2013 11:09 EDT | Updated 12/29/2013 05:12 EST
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is trying to lower expectations for strong initial enrollments under the president's historic expansion of health coverage for the medically uninsured.

Facing ongoing problems with the enrolmentwebsite, Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner told Congress on Tuesday that "we expect the initial numbers to be small."

An internal memo obtained by The Associated Press shows that the administration expected nearly 500,000 people to gain coverage just in October, the program's first month. Tavenner repeatedly declined to cite enrolment numbers, saying they will not be provided until mid-November.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, drew his own conclusion. He told Tavenner that by his math, the administration appears headed for less than a fourth of its October sign-up estimate.