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Top Obamacare official sees problems, would be 'surprised' if it starts well

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Obamacare,Health Care

A top administration aide in charge of implementing Obamacare said on Tuesday that he would be "surprised" if it starts perfectly, the latest gloomy assessment of the massive revolution in how Americans get health insurance.

Gary Cohen, deputy administrator and director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a friendly audience at the Brookings Institution that the early kinks in Obamacare should eventually even out, but that the beginning will be messy.

Citing critical press reports questioning whether the administration will be ready on January 1, the official kickoff of Obamacare, Cohen said, "Will it be as wonderful on the first day as it is on the 30th day, or the 60th day, or the 90th day, or year five? Maybe not."

He added, "I certainly wouldn't claim that we're not going to have any problems at and everything's going to work perfectly. I would like for that to happen. But it would be a surprise, I think, if that were to happen."

Instead, he said, that the public has "to recognize that this is a big thing, it is complex, it does involve a lot of people and a lot of moving parts in terms of technology and other things, but it is happening and we are on schedule, we are hitting our milestones."

Mandy Cohen, the senior technical advisor for Obamacare, also said that the administration will mount a paid media campaign to promote the health reform when enrollment begins in October. She added that the focus will be on the mothers of younger Americans who aren't eager to pay for health care.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.