Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Modest gain seen for Obama's last health care sign-up season

Facing new challenges to a legacy law, the Obama administration on Wednesday set modest expectations for the president's final health care sign-up season. The biggest worry: rising premiums and dwindling choices.

Some 13.8 million people are expected to sign up for 2017 coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. That would be an increase of a bit less than 9 percent from the 12.7 million who picked plans during open enrollment for this year.

This year is shaping up to be the most difficult sign-up season since launched in 2013 and the computer system froze up. But technology isn't the issue this time. Premiums are going up by double...