Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner faces tough questions from Congress on what went wrong with HealthCare.gov, and whether she saw any of it coming. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP)
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 enrollment website, 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 the administration expected nearly 500,000 people to gain coverage just in October, the program’s first month. Tavenner repeatedly declined to cite enrollment 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.