President Barack Obama on Monday defended the online rollout of his signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, arguing that millions of Americans were already benefiting from additional protections and access to affordable coverage.
Maintaining that the law is “not just a website,” Obama conceded that the website for enrollment in federal health exchanges “hasn’t worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work.”
“There’s no sugar coating it,” he said from the White House rose garden, flanked by 15 people who successfully enrolled for the program. “The website has been too slow, people have been getting stuck during the application process, and I think it’s fair to say that nobody is more frustrated by that than I am, precisely because the product is good. I want the cash registers to work. I want the checkout lines to be smooth. So I want people to be able to get this great product. And there’s no excuse for the problems. And it’s — these problems are getting fixed.”
Obama added that the high amount of visitors to the website, which he placed at 20 million since it first opened Oct. 1, had “aggravated” the underlying issues affecting system.
“We’ve got people working overtime, 24/7, to boost capacity and address the problems,” Obama said. “Experts from some of America’s top private sector tech companies who, by the way, have seen things like this happen before. They want it to work. They’re reaching out, they’re offering to send help. We’ve had some of the best I.T. talent in the entire country join the team and we’re well into a tech surge to fix the problem.”
Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site’s coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.