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 "Affordable Care Act Implementation on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 29, 2013.
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 British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid