WASHINGTON (CBS DC/AP) — President Barack Obama is going on a full-court press to promote his health care law.
In a White House event Tuesday attended by Obamacare supporters and those who say they have benefited from the law, Obama touted improvements to HealthCare.gov.
“Today the website is working well for the vast majority of users,” Obama said, adding that they will fix issues that may continue on the federal health care website.
“Do not let the initial problems with the website discourage you,” Obama told supporters. “We’ve learned not to make wild promises about how perfectly smooth it’s going to be all the time.”
Obama stated that the Affordable Care Act is currently helping Americans.
“The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future,” Obama said.
Obama said that nearly 500,000 Americans will be gaining health care coverage by Jan. 1 and that number will “keep on growing.” Obama added that 42 million Americans remain without health care.
Obama took a shot at his Republican critics, saying they are just “rooting for the law to fail.”
“We are not repealing it as long as I’m president. We will make it work,” Obama said.
Obama called on supporters to help inform the uninsured that they need to get covered.
“I’m going to need some help in spreading the word,” Obama said.
The Obama administration had promised a vastly improved shopping experience on HealthCare.gov by the end of November, and Monday was the first business day since the date passed.
The site appeared to generally run smoothly early Monday morning before glitches began slowing people down. By 10 a.m., federal health officials deployed a new queue system that stalls new visitors on a waiting page so that those further along in the process can finish their application with fewer problems.
Despite the Obama administration’s team of technicians working around the clock, it’s not clear if the site will be able to handle the surge of applicants expected by the Dec. 23 deadline to enroll for coverage starting at the beginning of the year. Many navigators also say they’re concerned the bad publicity plaguing the troubled website will prevent people from giving the system another try.
“There’s a trust level that we feel like we broke with them. We told them we were here to help them and we can’t help them,” said Valerie Spencer, an enrollment counselor at Sarah Bush Lincoln Center, a small regional hospital in the central Illinois city of Mattoon.
Federal health officials acknowledged the website is still a work in progress. They’ve also acknowledged the importance of fixing back-end problems as insurers struggle to process applications because of incomplete or inaccurate data. Even when consumers think they’ve gone through the whole process, their information may not get to the insurer without problems.
During a press conference earlier Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner said Obamacare “continued to wreak havoc on American families.”
“This bill is fundamentally flawed, causing people to lose the doctor of their choice, causing them to lose their health plan. And if that isn’t enough, they’re having to pay much higher prices at the same time,” Boehner stated. “So, House Republicans are going to continue to listen to our constituents, listen to the American people, and try to focus on protecting them from a fundamentally-flawed law.”