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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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
x
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.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Anonymous
October 21, 2013 10:54 AM
I feel that this article, unlike most, does a really good job being unbiased.


by: Vickie from: Tennessee
October 21, 2013 10:50 AM
Isn't it impressive that Obama admits something is such a huge national mess?

Comments page of 2
 Previous    

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid