News / USA

Obama Vows Fix for Health Care Web Sites

President Barack Obama gestures while speaking about the initial rollout of the health care overhaul, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Oct. 21, 2013.
President Barack Obama gestures while speaking about the initial rollout of the health care overhaul, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Oct. 21, 2013.
— President Barack Obama has vowed to fix problems afflicting the rollout of the new health insurance law, including software glitches frustrating Americans trying to enroll in the program.

Since enrollment for the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, as the health care law is known, formally started October 1, the main federal web site and some state exchanges have been plagued by software problems.

Americans have until March of next year to sign up for insurance or face a penalty. As problems became more embarrassing, the White House blamed heavy demand straining on line systems.

HealthCare.gov web siteHealthCare.gov web site
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HealthCare.gov web site
HealthCare.gov web site
But amid increasing criticism, the administration now has sought help from the high-tech industry to fix what experts say are more than just glitches, but some serious system design flaws.

In the White House Rose Garden, with a dozen people who successfully signed up for coverage or were already benefiting from the law, Obama said he is committed to fixing what he called "kinks" in the system.

"There is no sugar coating it. The website has been too slow. People have been getting stuck during the application process. And I think it is fair to say that nobody has been more frustrated by that than I am precisely because the product is good. I want the cash registers to work. I want the check out lines to be smooth. So, I want people to be able to get this great product," said the president.

"There is no excuse" for the problems, said Obama, adding his administration is doing everything it can to boost capacity.

He stressed that while health insurance under the exchanges does not formally begin until January 1, Americans already are benefiting from key provisions, including coverage regardless of pre-existing medical conditions.

Obama acknowledged the problems have provided more ammunition to opposition Republicans whose efforts to block funding for Obamacare led to a 16-day government shutdown. But he said the "long and contentious" battle over health care reform was not fought merely because of a website.

"We waged this battle to make sure that millions of Americans in the wealthiest nation on Earth finally have the same chance to get the same security of affordable, quality health care as anybody else. That is what this is about," said Obama.

Obama said "it's time for folks to stop rooting for the failure" of the health care law, "because hardworking middle-class families are rooting for its success."

The administration has not released figures of the total number of people who have signed up successfully for coverage, but has pledged to provide that information in November.

The Department of Health and Human Services said that nearly half a million people submitted applications through the federal website and online state insurance exchanges or marketplaces.

A spokeswoman for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she intends to testify before Congress, but no date has been set. Republicans have called for Sebelius to resign, citing the problems with the health care websites.

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by: Mrs. Pain from: Miami
October 21, 2013 6:12 PM
How is all that "hope and change" doing you now, all you Obama Regime grovelers???


by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
October 21, 2013 6:09 PM
At least Obama as the President has admitted that the system needs improvement. Give him a break. How many of our presidents have admitted to anything as a flaw? Any complex new system is likely to have some kinks in the beginning. This does not follow that the affordable healthcare is a failure as the GOP would like the rest of the country to believe. The system has lot of good things to be happy for ex. Pre existing conditions or student's coverage when they are in college. It is time the GOP grows up and stop complaining about everything or asking people to resign. Ask the tea party politicians to resign for messing up the country.


by: LIES from: USA
October 21, 2013 6:05 PM
The "dozen" that "successfully" signed up, is just an outright LIE.


by: Mrs.Snoughfoloughogus from: L.A.
October 21, 2013 6:03 PM
There’s more to this failure than just the enrollment side, by the way. That’s only the beginning of all this. After people are enrolled, their information and enrollment status must be accurately communicated with insurance companies, doctors, hospitals and clinics, all in real time as people show up at medical service providers and demand health care (or emergency care).

This is where the real Obamacare hits the fan, because a huge percentage of those who think they are enrolling in the system are doing so because they have pre-existing medical conditions which have gone untreated for years. Beginning on January 1, these people are going to line up by the thousands in front of clinics, hospitals and treatment centers across the country. They’re all going to think they have Obamacare insurance, yet medical centers are going to be unable to confirm their insurance policies because the Healthcare.gov back-end (server side) is broken.

I predict we are going to see a front-line health care nightmare scenario unfold in January, 2014. I also predict — and you can quote me on this — that many health services providers are going to declare they will “stop accepting Obamacare patients” due to these disastrous IT failures.

The fact that hospitals and clinics which choose to accept Obamacare patients will often not get paid on time because of IT failures means there will be tremendous pressure on health service providers to drastically cut the costs of delivering services to Obamacare insurance holders. Effectively, this means Obamacare is likely to be reduced to the equivalent of a “welfare health care” system while, simultaneously, premium health care services will be delivered to those who pay cash for higher-caliber health care. Obamacare will be to real medical care what day-old Dominos Pizza is to a deep-dish authentic, wood-fired Italian pie made with fresh Roma tomatoes and basil.

The quality of health care services, in other words, is about to take a plunge all across America. From the point of view of sick-care service providers, accepting Obamacare patients will be worse than accepting Medicare patients, and every medical clinic already knows that Medicare is the very worst system to work with right now because they hardly pay anything for services rendered. Providing services to patients covered under Medicare is practically providing them for free. Providing services to Obamacare patients may be a recipe for total bankruptcy.

Watch for huge growth in cash-pay clinics and medical service providers who, themselves, carry no liability insurance!

Finally, I predict that with the implementation of Obamacare in 2014, we will all witness an explosion in the growth of “cash pay” medical clinics, where services are affordably rendered by doctors who accept no insurance and who deliberately carry no liability insurance whatsoever.

By my estimates, health care services can be rendered under a “no insurance / no liability” system for approximately 20% of today’s typical health care costs.

A procedure that might currently cost $10,000 at a hospital, in other words, would only cost $2,000 out of pocket in a cash-pay clinic.

The drastically rising costs of health insurance under Obama’s ridiculously-named “Affordable Care Act” means that for more and more people, it makes sense to buy only the minimum insurance required under Obamacare — or pay the IRS fine — and resort to cash payments for actual day-to-day health care services.

This is the only way Americans are going to get quality health care services: by bypassing the disastrous Obamanightmarecare system altogether.


by: Lady Bottomburp from: Fargo, ND
October 21, 2013 6:00 PM
More than two weeks after the hoax launch of the fake “shell” website Healthcare.gov which did not function, the Obama administration has announced plans to bring in real programmers and attempt to build an online federal health exchange site that actually functions.

A widely publicized HHS blog post calls this, “doing better,” continuing the absurd lie that Healthcare.gov only suffered from minor glitches and small problems that need incremental “improvements.”

At no time has HHS acknowledged the fact that the Healthcare.gov website is structurally flawed and suffers from deep design failures that cannot simply be patched.

The utter incompetence of HHS is obvious in its attempted explanations for why the launch of the site has been such a disaster. “We have made a number of improvements to the account service,” the HHS blog states. “Initially, we implemented a virtual ‘waiting room,’ but many found this experience to be confusing.”

Maybe that’s because the very idea of an “online waiting room” is laughable. Imagine if Amazon.com had a waiting room where you had to take a number and wait your turn before you could make a purchase. Or imagine if Priceline.com made you wait an hour or two before you could check prices from multiple airlines. Nobody uses the internet to sit around and wait for some poorly-designed code to try to catch up. That the federal government thought this was a brilliant idea is yet more proof that the people running this system still have no clue what they’re doing.

Obama administration suddenly decides to start figuring out where the errors are, two weeks AFTER the launch!

To the great astonishment of programmers everywhere, Healthcare.gov was only tested for 5 – 7 days before launch. Yep, less than a week of testing.

At no time was the site subjected to any sort of intelligent error monitoring or debugging effort. In fact, HHS is now celebrating the fact that it has suddenly discovered debugging principles and will now implement them!


by: quiltmaker1616 from: San Rafael CA
October 21, 2013 4:42 PM
As far as I am concerned, Barack Obama is one of the best Presidents the U.S. has ever had. Of course, there will be some difficulties with signing up tens of millions of new people for healthcare coverage! That doesn't invalidate the aim of Obamacare. We were the only Western industrialized country that didn't provide universal healthcare--now we are finally getting civilized.


by: NIck from: NY
October 21, 2013 3:55 PM
Well we know how well he keeps promises- and honesty is his best policy. BTW this was Bushs' fault too.


by: Anoumous
October 21, 2013 2:30 PM
Tried to use live chat, the lady mentioned that call 1800-318-2596. So that I called, another lady said that we have problem for the website. Today is October 21, website officially started October 1, during these time, what they are doing? Waste tax paxpyer money!!!


by: adam
October 21, 2013 10:56 AM
Well when you contract an outside web developer from Canada to build a healthcare exchange site in the USA this is what you get.

In Response

by: logic from: Denton,texas
October 21, 2013 11:22 AM
Everyone is talking about the polls say this and they say that. Have you been contacted to answer a poll? Ask the people how they feel on a national forum!!!


by: Jim Spicer
October 21, 2013 10:56 AM
Who is surprised this new system doesn't work correctly? But why does it take photo-op boy himself to fix it?

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