Open enrollment for ObamaCare kicked off yesterday and the Administration is already lowering our expectations of how many people will buy into a flawed system that raises healthcare costs without  delivering better quality care.

Perhaps that’s why one of ObamaCare’s healthcare delivery systems, the Small Business HealthOptions Program (SHOP), an online market place for businesses, is not doing well. In addition, a number of regular state co-ops also have shut down because they couldn’t pay their bills.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that 1 million people would SHOP for ObamaCare coverage in 2015. Nationally, there are only 85,000 people – some 11,000 coming from small businesses, who have coverage through this online marketplace, according to data released last May.

The federal government operates the SHOP exchange in 34 states, while 17 states including Washington, D.C., run their own small business exchanges. The states aren’t faring much better. Apparently, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington sold coverage to fewer than 200 employers.

The idea behind SHOP was to make it easier and cheaper for small employers (those with fewer than 50 full-time employees) to provide coverage to their employees. SHOP exchanges allow companies to enroll at anytime rather than just during open enrollment. To make it enticing, the federal government offers tax credits worth up to half an employer’s share of their workers’ premiums. Conditions set salary caps though to qualify for those tax incentives.

Despite the "free" federal money, ObamaCare is still not affordable enough to recruit employers or their employees. SHOP plans are expensive, SHOP offers fewer health plan options, and software problems still plague the state exchanges while the federal website took over a year to launch with limited enrollment functionality. The Administration couldn’t have been serious about the program given how little priority it receives, so why should Americans?

USA Today reports on some of the reasons why:

But several factors account for the paltry enrollment in SHOP, say insurance brokers, insurers and state officials. Brokers say SHOP has fewer health plans and more expensive coverage policies than can be purchased outside the exchange…

Many small employers have stuck with plans they purchased outside SHOP because the Obama administration gave them the option to remain with their existing policies until 2017. That enabled employers to stay in plans that don’t meet all the new requirements of the health law, including so-called “essential health benefits.” These additional benefits can drive up the cost of policies, making it harder for the SHOP plans to compete.

But many brokers say they don’t see the value of SHOP since it typically offers fewer options than outside the exchanges.  “There really is no reason to go to SHOP unless you qualify for the tax credits,” said Ken Stevenson, a Tallahassee, Fla., insurance agent…

Other brokers say enrollment on SHOP is more confusing than working directly with carriers. “It’s difficult to get through the web site, and it’s a lot easier for employers to pick up the phone and call a broker than spend four hours on the SHOP site,” said Alan Schulman, a Bethesda, Md., insurance agent.

The Administration simply shrugs its shoulders at SHOP’s floundering. The Obama Administration’s top insurance exchange official, Kevin Counihan, said it “doesn’t really bother me… Something like this takes time.” He expects enrollments to grow as word spreads about SHOP, but if that word is that it’s expensive and lacks options, he may have dropouts to contend with rather than new enrollments.

While the Obama Administration shrugs its shoulders at providing quality, affordable healthcare options for small business owners and employees, we don’t. Americans deserve choice, but ObamaCare has proven to be brilliant at axing options and leaving Americans worse off but forced to comply or else face penalties.