The Obama administration acknowledged Monday that the problem-ridden healthcare.gov website would “not work perfectly,” even after its self-imposed Dec. 1 deadline for fixing the online marketplaces.
"The system will not work perfectly on December 1 but will operate much better than it did in October,” Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told reporters in a conference call Monday.
Just days from the end-of-month deadline, the administration is scrambling to mitigate technical failures that have embarrassed the White House and been a major drag on President Obama's signature domestic achievement -- and his approval ratings.
Obama spokesman Josh Earnest earlier Monday insisted that the federal website would work smoothly for the “vast majority” of consumers by the end of the month.
The website "should be able to handle 50,000 concurrent users," Earnest added.
The Obama spokesman said that if more than 50,000 people tried to access healthcare.gov simultaneously, consumers could opt to receive an email from CMS notifying them when there is less online traffic, also moving the shopper to the front of the digital line.
The White House is keenly aware of what would happen politically if the administration fails to meet the deadline.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have already signaled they will seek legislative changes for Obamacare, including a possible delay of the so-called individual mandate, if healthcare.gov isn't ready come December.
The short-term goal is that the website allows roughly eight in 10 people to fully enroll in Obamacare, the White House has said.