The Obama administration said today it's making steady progress on health care sign-ups, but the White House needs something close to a miracle to meet its goal of enrolling 6 million people by the end of this month. It could happen with a sustained surge in consumer demand, but they're not seeing it yet, and time is running out. The Department of Health and Human Services said more than 940,000 people signed up during February for private coverage under President Obama's health care law, bringing total sign-ups to 4.2 million.
But with open enrollment ending March 31, that means to meet the goal, another 1.8 million people would have to sign up by the end of the month, an average of about 60,000 a day. That's way above the daily averages for January and February, which have ranged between 33,000 and 34,000, and the math seems to be going against the administration. The 943,000 enrolled in February fell short of the target of 1.27 million that HHS had initially set for the month. The goal of 6 million sign-ups is itself a lower bar than was originally set. The Congressional Budget Office scaled back its original target of 7 million because of the federal website's early computer problems. HealthCare.gov serves 36 states, while 14 states and Washington, DC, are running their own sites. (Read more Affordable Care Act stories.)