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. Sheeple

    He will take "full responsibility" ... except for the folks who warned them they weren't ready for prime time. Those folks he's going to fire for bringing him bad news.

    October 30, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. Emile Mervin

    Idiots keep saying Obama promised Americans that they could keep their health coverage and doctors, but insurance carriers who dumped their insured clients proved Obama misled the nation. It was not Obama who took away the health insurance people had; it was the insurance carriers, who are also doing the bidding of the Tea Party to aggravate Americans so they can turn against Obamacare. There are sides to the Obamacare story that are not being covered, including the fact that Obamacare is primarily aimed at providing insurance to the UNINSURED and UNDERINSURED, there are people who have gotten through enrolling via the website, mail-in and telephone, and as the process deepens, amendments will be made to make it better. In the end, Americans will get insurance.

    If Obamacare succeeds, it could be a huge black-eye for the Tea Party and republicans, which is why they are working to make it fail, just liked they set out and failed in 2008 to make Obama a one-term President.

    October 30, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. scrappyike

    In the meantime, people who have their policies discontinued should "just shop around,".......didn't know Obama was a comedian. Really? What happened to government insurance for everybody???

    October 30, 2013 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. cscd1111

    I do have an idea for the president how about a fine for the americans with 5/6 kids or better,and who probable never paid a dime of tax in this land of democrat give a ways?

    October 30, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. Mark Pajak

    G.W. Bush would have said the webmaster misuderestimated the bandwidth requirements.

    October 30, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. Herewe Goagain

    Is he going to fix the higher premiums?

    October 30, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. Daria

    I personally don't see any long term benefit from this high cost subsidized government approach to "reform". I don't see any reform at all unless you count unlimited coverage for the mentally ill or drug abusers as reform. I'm glad if they get treatment, but I suspect that as soon as they do, they will go from subsidized insurance right over to the federal disability program because most mentally ill people or drug abusers are very low on productivity and contributions to economic growth anyway. They won't be looking to get well so they can go out at work a fifty hour work week they will be looking for a way to get "diagnosed" and then use that diagnosis to claim a disability. Let's mark our calendars. I say within 3 years the disability program will be over burdened and will be paying out more to able bodied "disabled" people than the old age social security insurance program will be. Then Obama will try to slam through a new tax on the employer's social security tax withholding side to pay for it.

    October 30, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. Shane McCutchen

    We'll fix the website, for another half million dollars.

    October 30, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. Tigas

    Is Obama going to take "full responsibility" for all the people that have had their insurance cancelled even though he promised that "you can keep your insurance"?

    October 30, 2013 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Todd

    ACA = Middle Class Tax Increases. It is Required to verify your income – this is due to insurance policies charging various rates FOR THE SAME POLICY – depending on your income. You are guaranteed to pay more for the policy coverage you just had (or will have canceled).

    October 30, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. DellStator

    I notice NYS, a state with it's own computer system, admittedly a democratic state (yet one where many republicans win major offices, say, mayor of NYC for example) has the highest no. of people who have made accounts. As to who's bought coverage, why now, it won't go into effect until Jan 1. Do you buy a car in Sept for delivery in January, no, you wait until December.
    I also notice many a red state that decided not to bother taking the federal money to make their own computer exchange, and instead let the feds do all the work, make up all the plans – which is odd, as red states are for states rights, and say states know what is best for their people, yet, let the feds make all the decisions for their citizens.
    Finally, all the rates I've found are LOWER than any other rate I've seen in private and most small business plans. For private insurance, MUCH lower, well unless you are in a red state, where some have the same cost as private plans do now. I do not know how the red states manage not match the blue states when it comes to competive pricing. Aren't republicans big on business? Though, red states usually have the most expensive medicaid systems too (least money spent on services, most on admin by gov't workers). Maybe republican businessmen just aren't good at health services?

    October 30, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. what1ever

    Geeze, no one cares what Romney thinks about anything. We THE AMERICAN PEOPLE support our president and trust him to get this fixed and help millions of people finally get affordable health care. We all could care less if we never hear/read another word out of Romney's mouth.

    October 30, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. JH

    Leave it to Obama to try to tie Obamacare to Romneycare. There have almost nothing in common.

    October 30, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. Name Tom

    You have to be kidding me!! He now is trying to attach himself to Mitt Romney for a rescue?

    Obama is a loser and we should have voted for Romney in the first place!!!!!!

    October 30, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  15. Scorpio

    We are working overtime to improve it every day," Obama said.
    "We are plowing," – said fly sitting on the buffalo's back.

    October 30, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. Wade

    Obama is not happy! WOW. Pathetic response.

    October 30, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Jerry

    Obama = Biggest Liar-in-Chief, EVER. It is beyond me how the Bobble Head Props at today's Mass campaign stop are not able to see trough HIS lies. Oh well... Anyway, it's probably all Bush's fault! Oh wait!!! Bush got a reprieve this time around. It's now the "bad apple insurance companies". Oh yeah, that's IT!!!

    October 30, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. Col B

    The real problem is with the ACA itself. It should not be repealed, but it must be fixed. The people that is was designed to help are the ones who are getting hurt the most. ODUMA and Pelossi need to stand before the American people and admit they screwed this one up. Put the mandatory sign-up and penalties on hold for another year and get a bi-partisan group to straighten out this mess. Today he told the people who cannot get insurance or cant afford the higher premiums to just "keep looking around." Wow, what leadership from a man who exempted himself from this "great program."

    October 30, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. ibsurfing

    Does anyone really think that "firing" Sebelius is meaningful? Yes there is a problem with the roll out but the real problem is that: "You have to pass the bill to find out what's in it."; that so many special deals were made for "special populations" [like the entire state of Nebraska, and Unions to get the bill passed (that were then reneged on--honestly the only happy thing for the rest of us...)] and that OBAMA LIED! People are being knocked off their plans everywhere you look. I am reminded of the Left's Mantra that 'Bush Lied' about the intel of WMDs in Iraq. Obama seems to get a pass about the false intel he got on Benghazi which was ridiculous (if we are to believe it)–a spontaneous protest about a low budget movie released months before on You Tube that suddenly took place on September 11 after overt threats had been made and acted upon for months leading up to the attack? Honestly, how much of a pass does Obama get? The Left accuses all dissent as racially motivated–when do they acknowledge that their complete and utter failure to vet this President in any reasonable way is racially motivated. This President claims ignorance every chance he gets, but the press insists he's brilliant. Both these things can not be true–he can not be brilliant, and so immune to incorporation of information in his thinking, or so accepting of being kept in the dark. OBAMA LIED about it all. Or assuming he is brilliant then he is PROFOUNDLY INCOMPETENT. I suspect both are true.

    October 30, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. jat3clove

    "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," Odd that a spokesperson for Romney went there. He dodged Vietnam apparently to do missionary work in France. He didn't however dodge his support for the Vietnam war and criticism of those who honorably served.

    The millions excluded from healthcare coverage due to pre-existing conditions and lifetime maximums can be assured that Governor Romney, had he become president, would have allowed them to wait until their state government got around to crafting a plan to cover them if their state was so inclined. I'm guessing that many of those, desperately in need of healthcare, would rather wait for the website to be fixed than wait for their state government to have compassion enough to offer coverage of some kind. The state governments had an opportunity to act and didn't. The president acted on behalf of many - some of whom would die waiting for the opposition to act.

    I would add to that those folks who "aren't allowed to keep their policies" because of the ACA should be offended by the rhetoric that suggests that they were somehow misled. the fact is that those policies were deemed inadequate - not offering sufficient coverage. Consumer Reports refers to them as "junk" coverage - high deductibles, no coverage for preventative. To be offended that you cannot keep junk is to reject a T-bone in favor of keeping a hot dog. It's nonsense and those who attempt to rally outrage over this non-issue are merely trying to dissuade consumers from embracing the ACA.

    October 30, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  21. John

    Typical bureaucrat that doesn't know jack on building systems that work. I guarantee there were architects, developers, etc. saying this ain't going to work....but nobody is going to listen.....

    October 30, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. Name Tom

    We got a redo with the Gov. of CA lets do with Obama and beg Romney to take over!!!

    October 30, 2013 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. John Cooper

    Bhahhahhahaha Really ??? Wait, is this a comedy website ?? Obama doesn't know anything about anything about anything. This whole thing is a joke. Until the middle of the country, those of us who are NOT blinded by Ideology left or right takes back control this country is screwed. Until you brain numbed people on the right and left start questioning what your leaders and the media are telling you instead of blindly following like a mind numbed robot this country is done for. I mean really?? Democrats passed this legislation knowing it is trash. They passed in the middle of the night using a legislative trick called cloture against the will of half of us working Americans. All the while the stupid Republicans couldn't articulate an argument or alternative because the hard right is so blinded by their own Ideological ignorance walking right into the Liberal medias trap to make all conservatives look like fools and walla...here we are. Totally screwed, broke and hating each other. Boy that Barack Obama is one heck of a president. NOT. He is an empty suit obviously controlled by most likely George Soros. And then there is the most incoherent, out of touch moronic leaders of the Republican Party. But, when this ACA crap explodes and Democrats will get the blame no matter what all the liberal media pundits try to do to shift the blame to Bush it isn't going to work. Then the Republicans will take over the house, senate and presidency and use the very same tactics of no compromise and pass revenge and punish legislation like the Democrats have passed. Revenge and Punish the middle class legislation. Its the Democrats turn to punish the middle class and soon that pendulum will swing back hard to the Republicans who will pass their own version of Revenge and Punish Legislation. Do you Ideologues have any clue as to what I am talking about?

    October 30, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. sally

    Obamacare needs to be given a chance. For those whose insurance policies are being cancelled, it doesn't look like they were particularly good policies to begin with...useful for catastrophic illnesses at best. Obamacare is real insurance with much more help for individuals.

    October 30, 2013 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  25. JR

    Welcome to a Socialist America. We are on that path, first the government controls your health care. What's next?

    October 30, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12