By Elise Viebeck - 09/24/13 04:00 PM EDT
An ObamaCare official said Tuesday that her agency is ready to deal with any glitches that arise next week as people begin to enroll in the healthcare law's insurance exchanges.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner delivered an upbeat message to a conference of health insurance professionals ahead of Oct. 1, the date when open enrollment begins.
"We're one week from the opening," Tavenner said. "I am so ready to quit talking about 'Are we ready?' and switch to 'Here are the things we need to resolve, here are the mitigation strategies, here is what we're doing to correct and identify a problem.' "
Her acknowledgment Tuesday points to the likelihood that not every exchange will operate smoothly from day one.
Federal health officials insist that they will be ready to begin enrolling the uninsured starting next Tuesday. But it is widely expected that such a large system will see at least a few snags initially.
Opponents of the healthcare law will use every problem to argue that the program is unworkable and ought to be dismantled.
Tavenner argued that it will take time for the system to work perfectly.
"Everything from the website to the call centers to counselors … everyone is going to be learning this as we go forward," Tavenner said.
"What we are seeing is more transparency, more data, more interest in entering [health insurance] markets and individuals asking a lot of questions. To me, that is what it is all about," she added.
Tavenner spoke at a conference on Medicare and Medicaid held by America's Health Insurance Plans in Washington, D.C.