In advance of this week’s open enrollment for ObamaCare, the Administration is lowering estimates for the number of Americans expected to participate in the health insurance marketplaces by 30 percent. Whether aiming low is strategic or just realistic, it may be a sign of weakness for the President’s signature law and legacy.

Health and Human Services (HHS) projected that up to 9.9 million people would be enrolled in ObamaCare in 2015. That’s 3.1 million fewer people than the Congressional Budget Office projected for next year. Why the discrepancy? HHS says it’s based on revised modeling that accounts for lower ramp-up rates among the marketplaces. In essence, they expect weaker recruitment efforts than the CBO predictions are based upon.

To give this context, HHS finally revealed that 7.1 million Americans are currently enrolled in ObamaCare, meaning they are actually paying customers as of last month. Some 112,000 people lost their ObamaCare coverage for failing to verify their citizenship and immigration status. Another 12,000 households may see their costs rise in December for not verifying their income to prove they qualify for their original premium subsidy.

The Hill reports:

Officials rejected the notion that the slower adoption rate could pose a problem for President Obama's signature healthcare law.

"Our charge was to make use of the available data to learn from our experiences and to build a projection from the ground up," said an HHS official, who declined to be identified on the record.

"We think the evidence points to a longer ramp-up rate than the CBO projections had, and that is based on what we've learned over the last year from looking at our own data."

The HHS said it's likely to take "four or five" years for the system to reach maturity, but emphasized that 9 million to 9.9 million exchange participants in 2015 will still be "important and significant."

The tension between the HHS and CBO projections is likely to draw criticism from Capitol Hill, where critics of the law are sensitive to any signs it might be encountering trouble.

These lowered expectations may be implicit acknowledgement that enrollment efforts will be more difficult. The low-hanging fruit of enrollees already are captured and it took hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to do it. The key questions are whether those enrollees will retain their plans and re-enroll and whether the Administration can attract new customers.

One key factor will be the subsidies. If those taxpayer-funded subsidies are invalidated by the Supreme Court –a big pending question – the full costs of the so-called “affordable” plans will kick in. So far the subsidies just mask the true costs of healthcare. With the real price tag revealed, not only would signing up new Americans be difficult, but we’ll probably see the healthcare exchanges hemorrhage current customers perhaps spiraling to its own demise.

Lowering expectations may also be a strategy. By setting a low bar that will be easier to reach, the Administration can claim success and attempt to build up credibility with supporters as well as attract new customers.

ObamaCare is in a precarious situation. As sinister key provisions such as the tax on those who don’t have healthcare coverage as well as the employer mandate begin to kick in next year, the Administration will do everything to shield Americans from the truth about ObamaCare.

However, like the insulting comments by the architect of ObamaCare, the truth will always come out. Contrary to what Jonathan Gruber said, Americans aren’t too stupid to understand when the government is pulling wool over our eyes. ObamaCare was a Trojan Horse wheeled into our nation in the dark of night and now the real provisions of the legislation are spilling out. The President and his supporters may think that ObamaCare is a done deal, but what’s great about democracy is that nothing is ever a done deal.