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
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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs