Sebelius: Obamacare enrollment numbers are ‘very low’

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — Few people have enrolled in Obamacare since it launched last month, Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday.

The administration will release those numbers next week, and Sebelius tempered expectations on Wednesday while testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, saying that the difficulties with the HealthCare.gov website — which has flummoxed many trying to sign up — had kept the number of enrollees low.

“Our early numbers are going to be very low,” Sebelius told the senators.

Sebelius said that the “struggles that people have had getting access to the site and getting information” has meant that not many people signed up.

The numbers, set to be released next week, will be for the first month since the launch. Asked if she thought the numbers might be higher for November and December, Sebelius said she was hopeful, but that it was dependent on the state of the site.

“Well, I’m hoping that with the site improved that we’ll see more robust numbers,” Sebelius said. “But until the site is fully improved, and we really kind of open up the doors wide to a lot of people, we’re going to have, I think, a struggle getting significant numbers to sign up.”

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said Tuesday that they expected to have HealthCare.gov fully functional by the end of November. After that, she said, they will launch a campaign to convince young people and more people to sign up.

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