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. Dave

    Lets see, screw everything up, then fake accountability.

    October 30, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. pseudosciencebuster

    Let's help President Obama repair his reputation. Yes we can!

    I encourage all Democrats in Congress to get together and sign on to Senator Ron Johnson's new bill, the “If You Like Your Health Plan, You Can Keep It Act", to help President Obama deliver on his promises. We need to help our President maintain his integrity.

    Call your Senators and Representatives and tell them to support and even co-sponsor this.

    October 30, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. may40

    When will he admit he lied to us about having the option to keep our insurance knowing full well that people would be losing their insurance? NEVER, he's a pathological liar.

    October 30, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  4. FedUp

    Why is the President wasting his time discussing an IT problem? aren't there more important issues to deal with?

    October 30, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. taylor

    He is a liar. .impeach him!

    October 30, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. malvee

    shop around???? my policy got canceled and any new policy I can get is a lot more expensive than the old one-what gives???

    October 30, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Steve

    I love how the first headline is "Obama is not satisfied..." then most headlines under that try to feature the Health sec. Nice attempt to deflect attention and push blame away from the President.

    October 30, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Ealgle0512

    The Ministry of Truth has spoken. Any more questions? I didn't think so!-Barack H Obama

    October 30, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  9. Bamabegone!

    Well, so what else is new - Obama is passing the buck again - and now he's comparing apples and oranges - a national "healthcare" plan to a state plan (which is the way it should be). He must be really bummed that he can't blame Bush this time. When, oh when, will this guy be gone from our lives . . .

    October 30, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Always ready to fix a problem he created in the first place but has no idea its his fault.

    October 30, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. Seabass

    What a pathetic, filthy liar. I'm sure it'll get fixed while he goes golfing.

    October 30, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. InFormed

    I would suggest he gets reading 'Web Developers for Dummies'

    October 30, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  13. Sick of it

    The ACA website didn't need to b perfect but it should have been checked and verified. Shabby work. The President should take full responsibility. But, I've heard the "buck stops here" way too many times. How about doing it right the 1st time?

    October 30, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. Crystal

    This site is basically expedia but with more bells and whistles. How come he didn't get them to do it. Or Google or Amazon or Apple. He got some company no1curr about.

    October 30, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Oh my God!! Another President not keeping his promises! WHO HAS!!! Bush...aH NO! GROW UP AMERICA! STOP JOCKING FOR POWER AND ACTUALLY WORK FOR EACH OTHER. If we do not come together at some point we won't have any country worth developing. We will be NEW CHINA.

    October 30, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  16. jamie

    Get it fixed just like Fast and furious, Libya, NSA and others ......

    October 30, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  17. JJS

    Odd that there are no soundoff responses posted on this....is THIS broken too?? :)

    October 30, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. james

    the worst president ever

    October 30, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. David Steele

    How do you take "full responsibility" for a project that you failed to oversee, asked for no progress reports, saw no progress reports, and simply blindly assumed that the people working below you would do the job?

    Barack Obama is a failure as a manager.

    October 30, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  20. Bill Smells

    Wait, hasn't he take responsibility for the economy? Or the IRS scandal? Or the NSA wiretapping? Or most anything else that's go on over the past six years?

    My expectations are real low now.

    October 30, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. jbird68

    the website is not he law! They can always dial 1-800-318-2596 to sign up! Lets not mix things up in the readers' heads please.

    October 30, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  22. Aaa comment.

    Good grief. The lies just tumble out!

    October 30, 2013 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  23. Jim Rome

    Anyone with IT experience, from Amazon.com to Ebay, knows that websites are a continual process of refinement. Not only will the glitches likely be resolved, but the ObamaCare website will likely add services in the future: like comparing out of state insurance, which will raise questions about why out-of-state insurance is outlawed, why we have no foreign insurance providers, why there are no foreign health care service providers ,and why all the other monopolistic laws are in place, increasing our health care costs so markedly.

    October 30, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  24. canon808

    Is this real life? If so, how this the war of words hasn't started in the comment section yet. That's why I come here , not for what some overpaid writers at CNN has to say but to listen to you fellow comments posters

    October 30, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  25. ejs

    Who cares what he says...he lies.

    October 30, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
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