October 30th, 2013
06:28 PM ET
9 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. Lizzie

    Russel, oh yes you will anything with a "D" is fine with you
    President Obama has been saying "I know nothing" so believe him.

    October 31, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  2. Data Driven

    @fire.camp,

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

    It's funny, you guys were saying last week that the website cost $500 million. Make up your minds.

    October 31, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    All I know is this, there won't be any help from Republicans when it comes to addressing the issues facing this country. All they seem to want to do is destroy the government and invoke radical right wing social engineering.

    October 31, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. rensaissancemon

    No excuses, I take full responsibility, by suffering no consequences whatsoever.

    October 31, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    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.
    ---------------–
    What mess? Please don't blame the weak economy on Pres. Obama. The economy is hands down in better shape than it was on Jan. 21, 2009. Republicans had run the Congress from 1995 until 2007, and the White House from 2001 until 2009. Just about all of the economic policies and legislation that eventually led to the The Great Recession, which began in 2007, were signed into law by President Bush between 2001 and 2007.

    The legislation ranges from his two rounds of tax cuts. His two rounds of tax rebates in the summers of 2004 and 2008, in a blatant attempt to buy votes. His unpaid for Medicaid Part D. His historic action of starting a war and not raising taxes to pay for it, an action that he repeated a second time. Bush enacted significant tax cuts each time,

    There is one piece of legislation that came out of the Bush administration that is hardly ever talked about. That would be the 2004 ADDI, "American Dream Downpayment Initiative." It was an outright grant of up to $10,000 to first-time home buyers to applied towards their down payments on a the first home purchase. It was authorized to hand out up to $200 million dollars per year. The real damage from the law came from the requirement that "banks use simpler language" in the mortgage documents so that people do not need to hire an attorney to understand them. It was these changes to the language that led to so many contracts being signed that had the ballooning payment schedules, These changes were applied across the board to all loans, which directly led to the mortgage crisis and the 2008 financial collapse.

    October 31, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. Notarichboy

    The headline is perfect "Obama takes "full responsibility" for fixing HealthCare.gov" for the failure of it he blames someone else but for fixing it its all him

    October 31, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. nautiusm

    Well, as long as he's sorry, then it's ok that millions have lost their current coverage for the sake of a government take over.

    October 31, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  8. melanieb.

    Obama wanted this to fail; just wait and he will come out and say he has a new better plan ready to go and it will be easier and it will be called Socialism medicare.

    October 31, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. s~

    So, what's Obama going to do about this mess?
    Nothing....as always.

    October 31, 2013 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. The REAL Truth...

    @captainreed – UNBELIEVEABLE! More than 1.5 million people have had their policies cancelled....
    -----------------------------------–
    Yawn... with 320 Million people in the US, that cancellation rate is a mere 0.0046%... it's not even statistically significant. At 32 Million cancellations we're up to 10%, which is still unremarkable.... as an independent, it amazes me much fake outrage the right has over the POTUS allegedly lying to you... given that the prior POTUS did pretty much the same thing with a different set of items (eg: Iraq, WMD, etc). But since he was a Republican you folks were silent.
    The irony and hypocrisy is lamentable.

    October 31, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. malty

    No excuses? Obama has since given many excuses. So has Sellius. The ACA is, and will always be, a terrible/expensive joke.

    (The site costs are estimated nearer to $600M especially after the 'fixes'. But the site is only the tip of the iceberg of problems).

    October 31, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  12. PeterD

    Why they are showing Romney's Pic instead of Obama's Health Care Law signing ceremony?

    October 31, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Sick Sick Sick

    Too funny that Obama gets an epic fail on an idea lifted from Mitt Romney.
    Even funnier that Romney got it done properly, with across the aisle consensus, class and honesty.
    Funniest that Obama is so stupid that he had to lie to Americans about Obamacare, can't stand up a website in 3 years, and so arrogant that he thinks American's won't call him out on his lies.

    This just proves that Obama is intellectually inferior to Mitt Romney, and America voted for the wrong guy in 2012.

    October 31, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. blakenaustin

    You are absolutely correct Mr. Obama. There are no excuses for ObamaCare. And the web site is just the tip of the iceberg. The lies and decption are unending. You can't keep your insurance. You can't keep your doctor. Insurance costs do not go down. Deductibles go way up. Repeal this monstrous piece of legislation. Then you and Sebelius need to resign in disgrace.

    October 31, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. The REAL Truth...

    @melanieb – and it will be called Socialism medicare.
    ---------------------------–
    SS, Medicare and Medicaid are all "socialist" programs and mostly VERY SUCCESSFUL!!... had Reagan/Congress not started raiding the cash surplus in SS and replacing it with Treasury IOU's (now over $4.5 TRILLION), SS would have no issues. Medicare funding can (over time) be removed from Federal funding as it's participants are now covered by NON-GOVT Insurance mandated by ACA. Feel free to look up what Medicare is, but Yes! the CONSERVATIVE PLAN that is ACA was DESIGNED to push all that $$ (some $700B annually) to the PRIVATE SECTOR and invite FREE MARKET COMPETITION.. yet the GOP faithful are completely uneducated on those pieces... too busy complaining and whining.

    October 31, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. ireuel

    He takes FULL responsibility for FIXING the site. Did anyone else catch that? The Secretary of HHS said the same thing yesterday. See this is double talk for low information people. Like them celebrating that the Deficit was only 680 Billion last fiscal year. Do you know the that the day after they made the "Deal" with Republicans they had to borrow 378 billion dollars approximately. Now which fiscal year did that belong to and which fiscal year did it get charged to? Our problem is not right or left, it is both. So you public workers here and O bots get over yourselves and stop repeating political double talking points. They both are responsible and the real boogie man/woman is the one in the mirror you see every morning, repeating their lies. Term Limits is about 50 years behind schedule.

    October 31, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. Fair is Fair

    The REAL Truth...

    @captainreed – UNBELIEVEABLE! More than 1.5 million people have had their policies cancelled....
    -----------––
    Yawn... with 320 Million people in the US, that cancellation rate is a mere 0.0046%... it's not even statistically significant. At 32 Million cancellations we're up to 10%, which is still unremarkable.... as an independent, it amazes me much fake outrage the right has over the POTUS allegedly lying to you... given that the prior POTUS did pretty much the same thing with a different set of items (eg: Iraq, WMD, etc). But since he was a Republican you folks were silent.
    The irony and hypocrisy is lamentable.
    --------
    1.5 million policies cancelled DOES NOT EQUAL 1.5 million people affected, lest you forget all of the dependents covered on those policies. And you can't use 320 million as the base of your calculation, since that would include all those on Medicare, Medicaid, and the 40 million uninsured your ilk always mentions. Care to try again?

    October 31, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. PeterD

    Success of Romney Care is now to blame for Obama Care Failure? Wow another Low from CNN.

    October 31, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. Peach

    Wonder how his "signature" legislation (named after him I might add) will end up being someone's fault when it all rolls out and becomes a complete nightmare...... Mr. Obama, you haven't taken responsibility for ANYTHING in 5 years, why start now????? Epic failure = your presidency.

    October 31, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. The REAL Truth...

    @Fair is Fair – 1.5 million policies cancelled DOES NOT EQUAL 1.5 million people affected, lest you forget all of the dependents covered on those policies. And you can't use 320 million as the base of your calculation, since that would include all those on Medicare, Medicaid, and the 40 million uninsured your ilk always mentions. Care to try again?
    ----------------------------------------
    OK. I'll give you that one.. but it's still a relatively small portion.. but that wasn't the point of the comment. The point was the outrage of those on the right who were SO SILENT when similar things happened during the Bush era. It's total hypocrisy for it to be OK for Bush, then hold the current POTUS to a different set of standards.. !

    October 31, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. Mario

    How possibly can you spin mess after mess and misinformation and lies into something positive for our country??
    Sheeple are simply so in love with the President, that love is blind or hypocritical to the obvious mismanagement of our beloved country on so many levels. Regardless of politics or color or gender or whatever card is pulled out, our country is on a course that is not sustainable.
    When is enough ..... enough ???

    October 31, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. tiffinS

    I see a pattern emerging....

    Billary "What difference does it make" Clinton – Took the fall for Benghazi for Obama
    Lois "Plead the 5th Lerner – Took the fall for Obama
    Kathleen "Whatevs" Willbillus – Took the fall for Obama

    These are Obama's "Binders full of women" who he let take the fall for his incompetence.

    Seems to me that the actual war on women is coming from the POTUS.

    October 31, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. The REAL Truth...

    @ireuel – They both are responsible and the real boogie man/woman is the one in the mirror you see every morning, repeating their lies. Term Limits is about 50 years behind schedule.
    -----------------------------------------
    With all due respect.. we HAVE term limits.. it's called the vote.. which MOST folks who are eligible do NOT do. The gerrymandered districts on both sides insure incumbent re-election. And even the smart ones among us know that most voters that do vote FULLY BELIEVE that their guy isn't the problem!!! Congress will NEVER institute term limits, so the ONLY solution is to get out the VOTE and VOTE OUT EVERY INCUMBENT, REGARDLESS OF PARTY affiliation. But I wouldn't hold your breath!

    October 31, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. JP

    What do you expect at having only spend 300 million to develop the sites and software – actually testing it? That's extra. Can you say typical government poor spending? How about a tax refund since this was done so incompetently – and have the companies give some of the money back – they didn't deliver a working product!

    October 31, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    It never ceases to amaze me how conservatives so thoroughly despise the government programs that were created to protect the people from their vulture capitalist policies.

    Why do we have Social Security? Because conservatives didn't want to pass legislation requiring banks to be responsible for people's deposits. The government created the FDIC to insure deposits, and Social Security to insure people's long-term investments.

    Why do we have Medicaid? Before Medicaid came along, people would work their entire lives saving up for retirement, all the while paying for health insurance. But, the moment they retired, insurers would kick them off because of age, and no one else would pick them up. People spent their retirement funds paying for medical bills. Middle age couples were bankrupting themselves paying for the medical expenses of their parents. .. ... And once again, conservatives was against legislation to stop the predatory practices of the health insurance industry. .. .. And so, Medicare was born.

    October 31, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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