WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — White House Press Secretary Jay Carney admits that he doesn’t know if President Barack Obama has personally used the healthcare.gov website that has experienced numerous glitches since it launched last week.
“There’s no question that he’s capable when it comes to using technology. He gets briefed on implementation regularly and is shown how the system works, so I know he’s is very familiar with it,” Carney said. “I don’t know if he’s personally gone on the website absent those briefings he’s had.”
Many Americans have complained they haven’t been able to enroll for “Obamacare” through the website because it continually crashes or does not load properly.
Obama and his staff have downplayed the technology flaws and said delays reflected the public’s huge interest in the website. There were 7 million visits to HealthCare.gov in the first two days. But federal health officials acknowledged problems beyond just high web traffic.
“We are working really around the clock,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday during a meeting in Tampa. “We have made a lot of progress. Today is better than yesterday and we’re hoping in the very near future to have a seamless process.”
Carney additionally noted, “I can guarantee you he knows in great detail how the website works, what the issues are, the number of people across the country who have been going to the website and exploring the options available to them and he has made clear to his team that he wants them to take every measure necessary to improve the consumer experience.”
Technicians were adding equipment to expand the site’s capacity and making software changes that had already cut wait times in half since Friday.
Experts said the decision to require that consumers create online accounts before they can browse available health plans appears to have led to many of the program’s technical problems. Consumers trying to create their accounts multiplied the volume of online transactions that have overwhelmed the website.
Consumers have until Dec. 15 to enroll for coverage that starts Jan. 1. They have until the end of March to sign up before penalties are incurred.
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