Obama: Government ‘Working Overtime’ to Fix Health-Law Problems

The President on Monday tried to reassure Americans that his health-reform promises would still be fulfilled

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Evan Vucci / AP

President Barack Obama gestures while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House on Oct. 21, 2013

As technical problems with a new federal health-insurance website begin to look less like fixable glitches and more like a colossal failure threatening the future of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama on Monday urged those trying to sign up for new coverage to be patient while federal officials work to address the issues.

“We are doing everything we can possibly do to get the websites working better, faster, sooner,” Obama said in the White House Rose Garden. Information-technology experts from the government and outside firms are “working overtime, 24/7” to fix “kinks” in the operation of healthcare.gov, through which Americans in more than 30 states are supposed to be able to sign up for new coverage and subsidies, Obama added. “Even with all the problems at healthcare.gov, the website is still working for a lot of people, just not as quick or efficient or consistent as we want.”

(MORE: Tech Experts Tapped to Fix Health Care Site)

The Administration says some 500,000 people have completed applications for new coverage under Obamacare, many through the federal website. But as the President pointed out, no one will actually pay for new coverage until December, and the earliest coverage can begin is Jan. 1. Applying for coverage, in other words, is not the same as having it, and the Department of Health and Human Services has said it will not release actual enrollment figures until next month. Insurance companies have reported that applications received so far have included erroneous or duplicate data that must be rectified before the enrollments can be completed.

Meanwhile, Obama urged uninsured Americans stymied by website problems to apply for coverage through a federal hotline or in person at designated community centers and hospitals. “Nobody is madder than me about the website not working as well as it should,” he said. Sounding like a pitchman, Obama read the hotline number aloud and said of the website, “I want the cash registers to work. I want the checkout lines to be smooth. I want people to be able to get this great product.”

The President opened and closed his remarks on Monday by mentioning the recent government shutdown, which polling suggests Americans largely blame on House Republicans who sought to delay or defund the health care law. “I’m sure that given the problems with the website so far, they’re going to be looking to go after it even harder,” Obama said. “But I just want to remind everybody, we did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a website. That’s not what this was about.”

It’s true, the Affordable Care Act is more than a website. The law cuts billions of dollars from Medicare and includes a large expansion of Medicaid and reforms meant to slow the growth of health care spending. But the law’s major selling point was that it would allow uninsured Americans to easily find affordable, quality health insurance. That promise depended on a website. And as long as the process of finding and buying that coverage is difficult, or even impossible in some cases, the promise will remain unfulfilled.

MORE: Inside Obamacare: Promise vs. Reality

35 comments
reallife
reallife

those 13 people in the back are the only ones that have signed up!


LOL


mrbomb13
mrbomb13

(continued from prior comment)

3) Pickert noted how the President sounded like a pitchman (politically incorrect; should be, "pitchperson"), yet failed to note how the product he's actually pitching - signing up for healthcare via the site - is still deficient.  Instead, the President wrongly noted how great the site was, sounding totally disconnected from reality.

4) Pickert noted how the President largely blamed House Republicans for the shutdown, but she failed to note how the President refused to compromise on any talking point (or, a "my way or the highway approach").

At least Pickert and TIME were honest enough to note that the President's promise of healthcare will remain 'unfulfilled' if the site cannot be corrected.

cherrypoppingdaddy069
cherrypoppingdaddy069

Putting a cap on medical cost makes more sense than mandatory health insurance! 

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Leave it to Kate Pickert and TIME Magazine to write an article's worth of half-truths about latest in The Obamacare Saga:

1) TIME inserted a picture of Obama giving his Rose Garden speech, but failed to note that the woman standing right behind him almost fainted during his speech, at which Obama noted that he can be long-winded at times (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/10/21/woman_nearly_faints_behind_obama_as_he_talks_about_obamacare.html).

2) Pickert noted how 500K have already signed up, and "many" allegedly did so via the Healthcare.gov site.  However, no TIME-provided or independent statistic was given to back that "many" claim up.

MrObvious
MrObvious

My bank just updated their software. What a mess. Addresses and auto billing got screwed up. They will no doubt fix it. Here's the thing tho, this software ensures my bills get paid on time. The healthcare software verifies that you're eligible but the actual insurance comes from a for profit insurance company.

In other words, glitches aside the ACA is not about the software, it's about the law. My banking software however have a direct impact on my ability to pay on time.

j45ashton
j45ashton

Kate, don't you think you'd really be more comfortable writing for the Weekly Standard?

queenofromania
queenofromania

I recall the mess created when the new Hong Kong airport opened and the baggage handling software didn't perform as promised. Things got fixed, and the airport is now running as smoothly as a large operation like it can run. Patience is in order, and the benefit to all will eventually be appreciated.

reallife
reallife

great! 

they're working overtime while everybody else is working under 30 hours a week!

we need more government!



grape_crush
grape_crush

> That promise depended on a web site.

It did?

jpruditis
jpruditis

My Father As Well As Other Fellow Americans Who Have Proudly Served In Our Nations Armed Forces Do Not Deserve To Be Spat On By Our Government.

When The Government Shut Down And Quit Paying Our Disabled Vets As Well As Retired Military.

Ask Any Retired Vet Or Retired Military If This Is Not Spitting In Their Face By Quit Paying Our Retired/Disabled Military.

The Government Spat Upon Those Who Dedicated Their Life To Provide Diligent Safety To Ensure Our Freedom.

Which Is Un-Acceptable For Our Nation.

With Out Their Dedicated Appreciative Services We Would NOT Be A Free Nation. And That Is Not How We Are Suppose To Treat Those Who's Who Are/Were Defending Our Nation.

What Happened To " The Preamble "?

With Our Government Supposedly To Be Defaulting We Can Not Even Afford To Guarantee To Provide For Those Who's Dedicated Their Life To Ensure Our Freedom?

Does Any One Under Stand Just How Vulnerable Our Country Is With Out Our Military , Retired Military Reservists Being " Put On Hold , Not Able To Defend Our Nation " When/If Needed.

The People Who Need Help Should Get Help And Not Be Punished Due To Being Disabled And/Or Retired Military/Civilian.

If Our Four Fathers Can See How Our Government Is/Has Been Operating They Would Turn Over In Their Graves And Kick Every One Out Of The Government And Start Over With Honest And Concerned And Not Greedy Representatives.

Our Government Needs To Stop Blaming Every One Else And Take Responsibility For Their Actions In Stead OfGiving Their Selves Raises/Vacations.

Why Cant They Take A Pay Cut To Help Our Nation To Provide Those Who Proudly Served Our Nation ToProvide Our Freedom?

In Stead Of Forcing A Health Care Program Down The American Peoples Throat And Holding Our Government Hostage That Will Lead To Illegal Immigrants As Well As Those Who Do Not Even Care To WorkGet Free Medical Off Of The People.

Why Can't We Just Re-vote On The Obama Care?

All Of Those Involved Should All Be Fired. Their Should Be People Who Are For The People In Government And Not Those Who Are Not For The People. This Include Every One In Office.

Our Constitution Is Being Misused And Our Country Is No Longer Our Country As We Are Being Leveraged By Other Countries.

If We Can Not Afford Fun/To Pay Our Disabled/Retired Military As Well As Non-Military Then We Should Not Be Able To Afford To Fund Obama Care. 

 

yodadog
yodadog

Exactly! And subsidizing those out of control costs w/taxpayer dollars by providing subsidies instead of controling those costs, is the ultimate in stupidity and dirty politics. In 2012 I was billed $11,000 for 3 scans in a CT scanner that took 15 minutes!!! Insane.

reallife
reallife

Talking point alert!

Attention drones! Make sure this is on every blog out there

Lol

ThaliaPerry4
ThaliaPerry4

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fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

@maizenbluerules As compared to the BILLIONS it cost our economy to have it shut down and threaten a default on our payments.

swagger
swagger

@jpruditisyou speak of the constitution then offer up this nonsense: "Why Can't We Just Re-vote On The Obama Care?"

you are the one abusing the constitution with your crackpot notion of a do over for something you don't like.  boo hoo.



Leftcoastrocky
Leftcoastrocky

@jpruditis "Why Can't We Just Re-vote On The Obama Care?"

We can, in fact, the House has done that scores of times.  But it also must pass the democratically controlled Senate, which a repeal vote would NOT.  And even if it did, the President would veto it.
So it IS the "law of the land."

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

@jpruditis First, I helped care for my father-in-law, a WWII vet, during the last four years of his life. He insisted on getting all his medical care through the VA healthcare system, and as an observer to frequent visits with his primary care physician and specialists, I can say from first hand experience that the medical care he received was excellent, and the support that his daughter and I received from the VA when he died on Christmas day last year was exemplary. The ambience at the Atlanta VA Medical Center was closer to Walmart than Mayo Clinic, but the care he received was second to none.

Second, have you actually used healthcare.gov, or are you relying on misinformation provided by Fox News and Limbaugh? I registered last week, logged back in this morning, and got quotes on plans from multiple insurers. The entire process took about 15 minutes of my time. The ability to compare costs and benefits across plans was the clearest presentation I have seen in my adult life — a far cry from the incomprehensible charts and tables offered by my employer when the annual enrollment window rolled around. 

Third, you might consider taking some lessons in remedial grammar, spelling, and punctuation, not to mention logic. Your lengthy post contained the sorts of errors I would expect from a 5th grader — and that is probably insulting to many 5th graders.

j45ashton
j45ashton

@reallife Let's make sure your remarks on on every blog...so people can have a good laugh.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@swagger @jpruditis You are right swag on that , but he does have a right to his or her opinion no matter how dumb you think it is. You know opinions are like ass holes , everyone has one, only some are better then others.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

@Leftcoastrocky : Not to mention that one of the most controversial parts of the ACA, the individual mandate, was upheld by the Supreme Court (even if Justice Roberts had to use some convoluted logic to reach his opinion), so, by any reasonable standard, ACA is the law of the land.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@S_Deemer @jpruditis Make your points and even insult is ok. but do not be a pompous ass and correct grammar ,spelling, and punctuation. this is not a sight for grammar teachers and college professors only. You understood what he said very clearly. when i am typing on this sight it is at 125 words a minute, mistakes will be made and i do not care if the point gets a cross. This is not a book report or a college thesis.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

@Openminded1 : It doesn't read like something by someone for whom English is a foreign language. That said, I agree, my swipe at jpruditis was unnecessarily mean-spirited. 

Twitter and text messaging often seem to be leading to the end of the English language, and anonymity on the internet has done much to coarsen political discussion. This can be a frustrating medium.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@S_Deemer Ps: I thought maybe he or she may be foreign and not use English as their native tongue.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@S_Deemer @Openminded1 I do not disagree with you your view S., it was the approach to this guy that you used. I am no saint I get harsh with people too. I just do not like the pompous approach. and the 5 reasons why are very good and  I totally agree.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

@Openminded1 : Jpruditis' writing does not meet even minimal standards for written English. If this view makes me an elitist, that's fine with me; I'm tired of watching the descent of this society into idiocracy.

You might enjoy this article from The American Conservative: "5 Reasons Why Words Matter." Here is the short version:

#1. The ability to communicate through words makes us human.

#2. Words give expression to the abstract in a way that image cannot.

#3. Word gives us the full story: its context, background, beginning and ending.

#4. Words connect us to the other.

#5. Words awaken our imagination.

aztecian
aztecian

@S_Deemer @Openminded1 @jpruditis bizarre...jpruditis capitalizes every word.  now, every sentence is a title, just slightly above the all-caps right wing religious fanatics. 

reallife
reallife

@S_Deemer @Openminded1 @jpruditis I perfectly understood what jpruditis said 

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

@Openminded1 @S_Deemer @jpruditis I did not offer any corrections. Jpruditis' comments could not be very clearly understood by anybody on this site, because they were mostly babble.

If a point gets a cross, would it be a crucifix with a dot on top?