13 November 2013
Last updated at 22:34 ET
Residents of Kentucky, one of the unhealthiest states in America, share their hopes and fears on Obamacare
The Obama administration has said barely 27,000 Americans enrolled for health insurance through its troubled federal website in the first month.
About 106,000 people were insured in total, most of them through the state-run websites.
The administration originally estimated nearly half a million people would sign up in the first month.
House Democrats reportedly expressed frustration about the botched rollout in a White House meeting on Thursday.
The federal website, used in 36 US states, has suffered severe technical problems since its 1 October rollout.
The administration has pledged that the portal will be “running smoothly” for a “vast majority” of users by the end of November.
Wednesday’s figures from the US health department also showed nearly 400,000 Americans had qualified for Medicaid, a government health programme for the poor that was expanded by the healthcare law.
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It is one thing if your enemies attack you – if your allies join in because they are frightened it will damage them, it is quite another”
About 40% of people in this category were said to have come through the federal website.
Nearly one million people, meanwhile, had managed to check via the website if they were eligible for government subsidies towards the insurance, but had not selected a plan, according to the administration.
A health department spokeswoman, Julie Bataille, said the agency would send emails to 275,000 people who were unable to complete their applications in the first month of the website, inviting them to try again.
The White House’s chief technology officer told legislators on Wednesday that the system’s response times have improved.
But there is a long way to go – health insurance enrolment as of 2 November was only about 1.5% of the seven million people the Obama administration has projected will sign up by the end of March.
The difficult launch of the website has provided Republicans with plenty of ammunition against the law, which they tried to delay or defund through a partial government shutdown last month.
In addition, the White House has faced harsh criticism over the cancellation by insurance companies of policies that do not meet the law’s strict requirements, even though Democratic President Barack Obama initially pledged otherwise.
The White House’s political headache continued on Wednesday as six Senate Democrats sponsored a bill that would allow Americans hold on to their existing coverage. The proposal is entitled Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise.
It is similar in concept to a House Republican-sponsored bill, to be voted on on Friday, which Democratic leaders have rejected as just another conservative attempt to repeal the law.
Democrats in the House of Representatives met White House officials on Wednesday, reportedly to express their concern that the botched rollout could spark a backlash in next year’s midterm elections.
An unnamed senior House Democratic aide told US media that legislators had pressed Mr Obama to announce a fix for the cancelled policies.
The White House is expected to host a visit from Democratic senators on Thursday about the troubled law.
Even former President Bill Clinton, a fellow Democrat, has said Mr Obama should find a way to let Americans keep their coverage under the law.
Mr Obama “should honour the commitment the federal government made”, Mr Clinton said in an interview published on Tuesday. Republicans seized on his comments.
Last week, Mr Obama apologised to those whose policies had been cancelled, saying “we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law”.
A recent US poll suggested that for the first time more than half of Americans do not trust the president.