Health

Obamacare Enrollment Target Drops to 6 Million

The Obama White House has acknowledged that enrollment will be lower than expected because of the website's early troubles, but has not come up with a new estimate of its own.

The Obama White House has acknowledged that enrollment will be lower than expected because of the website's early troubles, but has not come up with a new estimate of its own. // Charles Dharapak/AP

About 6 million people will probably enroll in private insurance coverage through Obamacare this year, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.

CBO had initially projected that 7 million people would sign up for coverage in the first year, but it rolled back those expectations "in light of technical problems" that plagued HealthCare.gov and certain state exchanges when they launched.

It's the first time CBO has quantified the damage from HealthCare.gov's woes. The White House has acknowledged that enrollment will be lower than expected because of the website's early troubles, but has not come up with a new estimate of its own. The administration previously used CBO's figures to set its enrollment targets.

Roughly 3 million people have enrolled in private plans so far, with two months left to go—putting the administration roughly on track to hit the revised target.

CBO also shaved 1 million people off its enrollment estimate for Medicaid, dropping from 9 million projected sign-ups to 8 million.

Despite the political furor over Obamacare's technical problems, CBO isn't expecting any long-term damage.

The budget office still expects the law to ultimately reduce the number of uninsured people in the United States by 24 million—unchanged from its earlier estimates.

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// April 16