“We may not get to seven million, we may get to five or six, but that’s a hell of a start”

While the Healthcare.gov website is now working, it is growing increasingly clear the Obama administration will not hit its goal of having 7 million people sign up on the exchanges this year. Vice President Joe Biden admitted that will likely be unattainable. From Reuter:

Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged on Wednesday that it will be hard to reach the target on the number of people signing up for health insurance by a looming March 31 deadline for Obamacare enrollment. [...]

“We may not get to seven million, we may get to five or six, but that’s a hell of a start,” Biden said, according to a pool report of his meeting.

It will be interesting to see if this is a problem getting things started or a systematic issue with the law. If the problem was simply the bad rollout we should see higher than expect sign-ups next year, and in a year or two everything will be back on track. Low first-year enrollment will only be a glitch.

On the other hand, if the reason more people aren’t signing up now is because they don’t see the exchanges as a good deal in the long term, the law could end up covering noticeably fewer than planned long term.