News / USA

US Official Apologizes for Obamacare Website Malfunctions

Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, testifies before a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on
Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, testifies before a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on "Affordable Care Act Implementation on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 29, 2013.
Michael Bowman
A U.S. official has apologized for the technical problems plaguing the online component of the president’s signature health care law and promised to see them fixed by the end of next month. The Obama administration is defending the measure known as Obamacare, amid press reports some Americans are losing their existing health care coverage and are unable to sign up for new policies.

Lawmakers from both parties continue to express dismay over glitches with online exchanges where Americans are supposed to sign up for private health care insurance at subsidized rates according to income level. Appearing before a congressional panel, the head of two federal health care programs, Marilyn Tavenner, responded to the outcry.

“To the millions of Americans who have attempted to use healthcare.gov to shop and enroll in health care coverage, I want to apologize to you that the website has not worked as well as it should.  We know how desperately you need affordable coverage," she said. "I want to assure you that healthcare-dot-gov can and will be fixed, and we are working around the clock to deliver the shopping experience that you deserve.”

The assurance did not convince Republicans like Congressman Kevin Brady, who noted that the administration previously promised the website would be functional on its October 1 launch date.

“None of that proved to be true. Now we are told everything will be OK very soon," he said. "So why should the American people believe you now?”

Tavenner replied that the overall system is already functional despite technical problems.

“It is working. It is just not working at the speed we want and at the success rate we want," she said. "And those are the things we are working on.”

Online improvements are not enough, according to Republican Congressman Dave Camp, who said, “While the website can eventually be fixed, the widespread problems with Obamacare cannot. Almost daily we hear reports of Obamacare increasing costs, harming job creation, and forcing Americans off their current plan.”

Democrats dispute those claims, saying the Affordable Care Act will reduce the nation’s total health care costs over time and provide coverage to millions of low-income Americans who currently lack insurance. And, Democrats say, Republicans are politically motivated to root for Obamacare’s failure. Congressman Sander Levin:

“Democrats want to make the Affordable Care Act work," he said. "Congressional Republicans do not.”

Other Democrats urged patience, noting that Obamacare is a massive undertaking barely a month into its full implementation.

That argument is likely to be echoed by the president’s point person for Obamacare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is scheduled to testify before another congressional panel Wednesday.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs