October 30th, 2013
06:28 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama takes "full responsibility" for fixing HealthCare.gov

BOSTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama acknowledged Wednesday the national health care law's new website was "too slow" and too many people "have gotten stuck" in it.

"I'm not happy about it and neither are a lot of Americans who need health care," he said at a Boston rally to tout and defend the Affordable Care Act, which is the signature domestic achievement of his presidency.

The President talked about the miserable start up of HealthCare.Gov, which went online October 1.

"There is no excuse for it and I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP. We are working overtime to improve it every day," Obama said.

The President delivered his address at Boston's Faneuil Hall, the Colonial-era meeting house where then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law a sweeping health plan.

The President says that Obamacare was modeled on the Massachusetts law.

"This is the hall where seven years ago Democrats and Republicans came together to make health reform a reality for the people of Massachusetts. It's where then Gov. Mitt Romney, Democratic legislators, Sen. Ted Kennedy, many of the folks here today joined forces to connect the progressive vision of health care for all with some ideas about markets and competition that had long been shared by conservatives," said Obama.

The President compared the current extremely rough start up for the health care exchanges in the national law to what happened in the Bay State, saying that health care reform in Massachusetts was a success despite "early problems" and "changes that had to be made."

He added that negative predictions from government coverage "didn't come true."

And Obama challenged Republican opponents of Obamacare to come up with helpful ideas for health care instead of undermining the federal law.

"Anyone defending the old broken system" or lacking any plan to help uninsured or underinsured Americans get coverage "should have to explain themselves," he said.

Hours before Obama's event, Romney criticized the national health care law.

In a statement, Romney revived a line he used quite often on the campaign trail in opposing Obama in last year's presidential election.

"In the years since the Massachusetts health care law went into effect, nothing has changed my view that a plan crafted to fit the unique circumstances of a single state should not be grafted onto the entire country," Romney said.

"Beyond that, had President Obama actually learned the lessons of Massachusetts health care, millions of Americans would not lose the insurance they were promised they could keep, millions more would not see their premiums skyrocket, and the installation of the program would not have been a frustrating embarrassment," Romney said.

"Health reform is best crafted by states with bipartisan support and input from its employers, as we did, without raising taxes, and by carefully phasing it in to avoid the type of disruptions we are seeing nationally," he said.

Romney was not at the President's address.

David Simas, a senior White House strategy and communications official, told reporters this week that regarding the President's Wednesday speech, "No, there's no outreach to Governor Romney."

A source close to the former governor told CNN that Romney was not invited to the event.

Prior to the address, a former Romney campaign adviser and spokesman had low expectations for the President's speech.

"Unless he stands up in Faneuil Hall and unveils a revamped, working website and admits he misled the country about how their insurance policies would be affected, it will be just another Obama speech. One full of empty promises, self-serving rhetoric and intellectual dishonesty," said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and CNN contributor.

Stuart Stevens, a former top adviser to Romney's 2012 campaign, compared news coverage of Obamacare to news coverage of the Vietnam War in the 1960's and 1970's, which started out non-controversial before becoming extremely critical of U.S. efforts.

"This coverage is so much like the coverage of Vietnam. It was all great for so long until reporters really got on the ground and saw the reality," Stevens told CNN.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this story.


Filed under: Health care • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (277 Responses)
  1. Stuffit

    Incredibly, he is blaming th "bad insurance" companies for complying with his regimes regulation. I wonder how he will explain the increases in the Medicare Advantage plan when that news explodes.

    October 30, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  2. William

    Please. I can't even stand to hear Obama lie anymore. He has no credibility. They had one server running the website. Hilarious. We all knew it would be a disaster and its come to fruition.

    October 30, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. Jimmy the Swartz

    I sure Obama's at the keyboard right this moment, fixed the website code.

    October 30, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. Roger Stine

    Awe, he's not happy that he actually has to take responsibility for something. Poor guy!

    October 30, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. Robert H

    I love how everyone takes responsibility for getting it fixed, but no one takes responsibility for it being broken. Priceless.

    October 30, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. Mark

    I'm betting this will be another empty speech. This is a president that thinks we need more pitbulls running around.

    October 30, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  7. Reality

    Romney Care? Really? This is your excuse? Really?

    October 30, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. discouragedinMI

    If I was this incompetent I would fire myself.

    October 30, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Regularguy22

    This Obama character is in utter denial

    October 30, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. Dean

    Obamas approval is dropping to GWB territory and he's got the media on his side...

    October 30, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. WTN

    You take full responsibility for fixing it? Is this a joke?

    October 30, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    The heritage foundation was all for romneycare but not for the ACA.
    I wonder why since it's pretty much the same wrist on a larger scale
    Oh wait, our President took a rethug idea and made it happen.

    October 30, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. NaytiveAZ

    Everything about it broken. He needs to worry about all the people getting cancellation notes first – the ones he promised wouldn't get cancelled. It's ridiculous – he's killing America.

    October 30, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. RLC

    He's "Making sure it gets fixed right away"... so i'm guessing he's on hold with Go Daddy customer service right now....

    October 30, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. Disgusted

    How courageous of him to take responsibility for "fixing" the website. What about responsibility for its failure? Oh wait that's what real leaders do. What dirtbag this person is.

    October 30, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  16. Monomachos

    For all those who love to say that Obamacare is Romneycare with a new name, Obamacare missed several important lessons, one of which being competence in its implementation. Romney was the better choice and now people are seeing why.

    October 30, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  17. Freedom Storm

    It’s a ruse, America. Deceived again, America. Been played again, America.
    The “failure to launch” is a huge success. It’s the plan.
    Fighting against the “failure”, America works to institute …
    … …
    Obamacare.

    October 30, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  18. blakenaustin

    I suspect he is not happy. He is being exposed as incompetent and a compulsive liar. His chief hirlings are being exposed as the same. And members of his own party and the far left media are turning against him. It is about time! And don't forget the Benghazi scandal, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, and the fast and furious scandal. Or our dismal economy and job numbers. Or the fiasco in Syria. This president must go!

    October 30, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  19. craig

    Scrub the whole mess and start again, and please read the bill first.

    October 30, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  20. Catharsus

    I'm an unapologetic conservative, but I have to say that the start-up problems have been overblown by Republicans. Sure, it's an embarrassment, and the problems are probably a whole lot worse than they would have been if they'd simply turned the development of the website over in a turnkey fashion to the private sector. But that aside, for Obama to say that Republicans haven't presented alternatives is a lie that is breathtaking, even for him! How about the Republicans' proposals for tort reform, and for allowing insurance company competition across state borders? How about the president acknowledging the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, and allowing states to develop their own plans that are suitable for their respective populations? Obama is a statist from the old-fashioned Soviet Union days. Even Soviets have rejected that philosophy.

    October 30, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  21. Ulysses-AZ

    He's not happy? What about the people who have been told their private plans are being canceled? We were informed my small company's health plan would be canceled and replaced with a plan with a HIGHER deductible, smaller percentage covered and higher co-pays. Your health plan is a curse-word around my office, Mr. President, regardless of whether you get the buggy website working or not.

    October 30, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. JC

    Not happy? he looks to me very happy.

    October 30, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. Joe Web Guru

    I'll fix healthcare.gov for a year of tuition.

    October 30, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  24. Smellferd

    'I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fix ASAP'...I'm sick of this word smithing. Take full responsibility period. At least Bush owned Katrina. This is a program that bears your name and you appointed the people who ran it. Be a leader and own it... Good or bad. Such weakness From A US president is saddening. The people deserve better.

    October 30, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. Jeff

    And mr president, we the people have not BEEN very happy lately

    October 30, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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