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Affordable Care Act numbers show low enrollment in first month

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TWC News: Affordable Care Act numbers show low enrollment in first month
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CHARLOTTE -- The Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers are in: 106,185 people signed up through federal and state exchanges, which is only about one-fifth of what the administration had expected during the first month. Many say the tech glitches are to blame.

"I'm one of the ones who signed up," said Kevin Butler with the Charlotte chapter of Organizing for Action.

Butler is one of the 26,795 Americans who enrolled for affordable healthcare through the Healthcare.gov website. However, he had to submit his information every day for two weeks before the site finally worked.

"And after two weeks of going on it, it finally let me in and let me go choose a plan," Butler said. "I now have healthcare and dental coverage effective January 1."

That kind of tech difficulty is why members of the White House team in charge of the website testified before a House committee today. The Obama administration's technology chief admitted to the site's failings.

"Unfortunately, the experience on Healthcare.gov has been highly frustrating for many Americans," said U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park. "These problems are unacceptable."

However, Park did say the website is getting better and can now handle about 17,000 registrations an hour.

Even though only about 106,000 people signed up for affordable healthcare during its first month, President Obama keeps pushing the merits of the Affordable Care Act.

The president spoke at the White House Tribal Nations conference Wednesday about the importance of making sure native Americans have access to quality healthcare.

"That's one of the reasons we fought hard to pass the Affordable Care Act, and we are working overtime to make sure the law works the way it's supposed to," President Obama said.

Charlotte-area Affordable Care Act advocates also came out Wednesday in support of the law.

Butler was one of those supporters. He said it was worth putting in the effort to get healthcare and advised people to be patient.

"Eventually they're going to fix the website glitches," Butler said. "I think honestly in my heart of hearts, a year from now this will be a mere blip in the pantheon of the Affordable Care Act."

He said people should keep trying because it's important to be insured.

Open enrollment lasts through March 31. The Healthcare.gov tech experts believe they'll have the website working by their goal of Nov. 30.

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