October 30th, 2013
06:28 PM ET
6 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. Bruce Twyman

    Empty promises, sef-serving rhetoric and intellectual dishonesty, You hit the nail on the head there !!!!!!

    October 31, 2013 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  2. krhodes

    Yeah no excuses...its the Republicans fault! LOL

    October 31, 2013 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  3. concerned party

    O.k. you get all the websites fixed, how are you going force everyone in America to buy health insurance? There is the homeless and the people that have income but don't file taxes and those that fit in the gray area. (People that make too much to get help but can't afford insurance.) Do you have enough room in your jails? I just don't see how that is possible.

    October 31, 2013 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  4. jack maaggi

    NObamaCare is a payoff to lawyers. 26 Y.O. Children is an Oxymoron. If a 25 Y.O. Adult Male Child on his parents' insurance marries a 24 Y.O. Adult Female Child's parents pre-deceased her, but she has an Actual Child from a previous marriage; can the Adult Female Child Bride & her Actual Child get coverage on her Adult Male Child Groom's parents' plan? What happens when the Adult Male Child Groom is over 26 Y.O. & his Adult Child Female Bride is under 26? What happens after their divorce? ~ If a 26 Y.O. can't afford insurance, they should join the Armed Forces!

    October 31, 2013 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  5. justino

    If he took full responsibility he should resign, along with his entire administration

    October 31, 2013 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  6. Fritz

    I think someone who hate the program have scam a wrong thing to it.

    October 31, 2013 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  7. captainreed

    UNBELIEVEABLE! You left out the part where the president said if you got one of those cancellation letters, just shop around for a new policy. When are you people going to start reporting the truth about this administration and this Un Affordable Health Care Act? More than 1.5 million people have had their policies cancelled, for years the president knew this would happen even as he was giving speeches everywhere that "if you like your health care, you can keep you health care." The president of the United States lied, again and again. Why is that OK?

    October 31, 2013 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Obama takes full responsibility??? Wow, is that supposed to make it OK??.

    October 31, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  9. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    TRUST "ME"

    OBAMA CARE
    is a MUST for thee
    but
    NOT for "ME"

    NOT "ME"
    NOT "MY" White House Staff
    NOT "MY" White House Czar's
    NOT "MY" UNION buddies

    TRUST "ME"
    It's GREAT !!!

    October 31, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  10. Paul

    I got an idea Mr. President, why don't you just resign and give the country a much needed break.

    October 31, 2013 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  11. fire.camp

    ...with a price tag now at $300 million you're demmed right there are no excuses!.............................

    October 31, 2013 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  12. SES

    This president and his administration believe they have a free pass from the press and the people. Their hubris and arrogance knows no bounds. As long as their is no push back they will be bolder and more dictatorial in their use of government power. This is a scary time in America.

    October 31, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  13. johnp40

    "Liar, liar, pants on fire ..."

    October 31, 2013 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  14. arry kouns

    You know your presidency is a complete train wreck when a failed, massively unpopular load of broken promises and feces is the crown jewel.

    October 31, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  15. Christian Grey

    And Obama challenged Republican opponents of Obamacare to come up with helpful ideas for health care instead of undermining the federal law. REALLY now you want our help in fixing it so you can tag us with it...NOPE you demoRATS own this and you are going to PAY...Come on 2014

    October 31, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  16. Christian Grey

    soundOFF has no responses REALLY come out of the woodwork you demoRATS that have been carrying his water for him.

    October 31, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  17. Mike S

    Typical Obama, taking responsibility without really taking responsibility. So basically what Obama is saying now is.... 'hey I am sorry for the roll-out.....BUT hey folks, this is not my plan.... it is Romney's plan... so blame him..." hah hah nice try.

    October 31, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  18. TransitDave

    How nice that Obama is acknowledging the obvious.......But does he also acknowledge responsibility for all the lies, deception and curruption involved in this trainwreck? How soon before he, not Ted Cruz, will be demanding the delay that he shut down the government for just a few weeks ago?

    October 31, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  19. Eagle0521

    But of course takes no responsibility for the biggest government roll out disaster in history. Pathetic.

    October 31, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  20. Eagle0521

    Too slow? Standing still is not the definition of slow. Can't Obama get anything right. It a video. It's because of the popularity of ACA. Tell the truth at least some of the time for heaven's sake.

    October 31, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  21. yippeeskip

    About time he took responsibility for SOMETHING...!!!

    October 31, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  22. Data Driven

    @scrappyike,

    "What happened to government insurance for everybody???"

    Good question. It was never on the table, because conservatives in Congress were screaming about "socialized medicine".

    Obamacare is the 1990s Republican legislation that was proposed in place of Hillarycare.

    You do know that the plans on offer with Obamacare are all private sector plans, right?

    October 31, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  23. Alex

    How about if Obama takes responsibility for getting us into this mess he created? He made the mess, now he is acting like a savior to "take full responsibility to fix" the mess he created.

    October 31, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  24. Rick

    I like how this is called his "signature domestic achievement of his presidency". Pretty much sums up his Presidency when his biggest achievement is a total disaster so far, and looking like it will only get worse. And what's his signature foreign achievement? Benghazi?

    October 31, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  25. Hoagie58

    It's amazingly coincidental that President Obama happened to find himself in Massachusetts, discussing this disaster, on the same night that the Red Sox won the World Series. I can't help but wonder if there would have been some other compelling speech to be given tonight, had the series not ended yesterday.

    October 31, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12