POLL: President Obama addresses widespread health care glitches

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Associated Press

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 7:04 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 6:03 PM

Poll:
The president acknowledges flaws with the new ACA website. What should happen next?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is acknowledging his health care law's rollout "hasn't worked as smoothly as it's supposed to work."

Obama is encouraging Americans who want to sign up for insurance under new government exchanges to keep trying. He spoke from the White House's Rose Garden.

The remarks came at Obama's first health care event since widespread problems with sign-ups online became apparent.

He blamed problems in part to an overwhelming response. He says the program doesn't depend on website and there are other ways to sign up.

Obama spoke from the Rose Garden, his first health care-focused event since the cascade of computer problems became apparent. The troublesome rollout of the health care exchanges has been a glaring embarrassment for Obama's signature legislative achievement.

The Department of Health and Human Services says it is also bringing in technology experts from inside and outside of government to help diagnose the issues.

Officials say over the weekend that nearly a half million applications have been filed through the federal- and state-run exchanges. Users must file applications before they can enroll, in part to find out whether they are eligible for government subsidies.

The White House also says about 19 million people have visited HealthCare.gov since Oct. 1.

Administration officials initially blamed a high volume of interest for the frozen screens that many people encountered. Since then, they have also acknowledged problems with software and some elements of the system's design.

Despite the widespread problems, the White House has yet to fully explain what went wrong with the online system consumers were supposed to use to sign up for coverage.

In an ironic twist, the troubles with the health care rollout were overshadowed by Republican efforts to delay or defund "Obamacare" in exchange for reopening the government during the 16-day shutdown. The bill that eventually reopened the government included no substantive changes to the health care law.

Click here for the 13News Now special report Healthcare: The Bottom Line and other stories.

AP-WF-10-21-13 0741GMT

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