Obama Addresses Irritation of Healthcare Site IssuesBy: Courtney Wills - October 22, 2013
The snags in Obama’s Affordable Care Act – which began when users were unable to even browse the new healthcare Web site – were publicly addressed by the President on Monday in Washington.
Spurned by the rising dissatisfaction with the entire plan because of the site’s technical issues, the President and Administration officials held a 25-minute briefing in the Rose Garden on the White House lawn at which Obama admitted the site’s problems are “inexcusable.”
“Nobody is more frustrated than I am,” Obama said of the inaccessibility of healthcare.gov; thousands of Americans trying to either set up new, or access current, accounts have been unable to do so since its live debut on October 1.
For the most part, though, the President defended the A.C.A. itself to the crowd, reiterating, “We did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a Web site. That’s not what this was about.”
The day before the Rose Garden address, White House Cmmunications Director Jennifer Palmieri gave similar sentiments, saying, “There’s great demand for the affordable healthcare coverage made available by the A.C.A. The challenge for all of us – the state and federal governments and contractors alike – is to make sure the American people can access it simply. We won’t rest until they can.”
According to sources working on a solution to the site’s ‘bugs,’ however, Palmieri’s “all of us” may not be resting any time soon – many say the site may not work properly until after the December 15 due date for sign-ups needing coverage beginning in January. One person even went so far as to iterate that so much work may be needed for repairs that the rewriting of millions of software code lines may be required.
The reason behind the site’s many failures, according to some experts, is that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not realize, nor have the experience needed, to truly grasp the difficulty of – and then implement – the building and maintaining of such an extensive network, although many politicians are not accepting that excuse.
On “Fox News Sunday” Senator Marco Rubio (Florida, Republican) said, “In the 21st century, setting up a Web site where people can go on and buy something is not that complicated.”
There is good news for the many individuals anxiously awaiting the chance to sign up for the Act-mandated healthcare through the Web site, however. Headway is reportedly being made on site repairs, as contractor-administration tensions have lessened and the two groups are discussing where to go from here; a Congressional hearing set for Thursday has both factions hoping for an agreement and plan by then.
Until the online exchange is working properly, Obama reinforced that individuals needing to sign-up or apply can do so by mail or phone; you can reach assistance by telephone at (800) 318-2596.
Image courtesy @WhiteHouse via Twitter.