October 30th, 2013
06:28 PM ET
12 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. dpatt

    If this keeps up they will be able to blame Romney for Obama care screw ups. Democrats say it was based on the Massachusetts program, that was for that state and that one alone. Maybe they should have actually come up with one of there own.

    October 30, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. VonPownage

    This president is a thief and a liar. "I only lied about being a thief." – Daniel Ocean

    October 30, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  3. Bob

    I am so glad President Obama is now on the case. He is so busy handling things like saving us from evil dictators and saving us from killer greenhouse gases that he didn't intervene soon enough. I think his underlings were so eager to please the president they kept him in the dark in regard to the poor website. Two things we can take from this. First, as we all know, Obama knew nothing about the poor website and now he does know and he will focus like a laser beam on this issue. Doesn't it make feel warm and fuzzy knowing how well that laser beam worked on the deficit and the economy ?

    October 30, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  4. Tim Barnett

    I fear it is like it was said, "Just another speech of empty promises!"

    October 30, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Has anyone ever....EVER heard Obama say a single word that was true? I mean really? How long has it been since he has actually based a speech in fact? Can anyone say that he has any honesty, or ethics, or credibility?

    October 30, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  6. Name

    Join the crowd Mr. President

    October 30, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  7. Rick

    The presidents unhappy? Now he knows how most of America feels.

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

    Yeah....Great.....Unh huh....I still am taking a 15% pay cut because that is how much more it is going to cost me to keep my insurance. Frankly, this is the most costly bill ever signed for employees and employers. Jobs will be gone because our disposable income is gone....therefore production is gone.....therefore poverty.....unless we become more Socialist as our present Government's agenda. GO TEA PARTY !

    October 30, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  9. G_Edwards

    "Obama says he'll get website 'fixed ASAP'"

    Does that mean he'll do it faster than by the end of Nov, like Sec Sebelius already promised? Or did no one tell Pres Obama that we already have a date?

    .

    .

    October 30, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  10. Rae

    Mr. President, we need you to take full responsibility for making sure it works in the first place! You are a bit late for beginning to take full responsibility.

    October 30, 2013 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  11. Disgusted with Politicians

    If you want to know how this law will turn out you only have to look at every other program the government is responsible for.

    October 30, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  12. Susan

    The people who have their policies canceled are the same people who voted for Obama. Boy, are they gonna be mad when it dawns on them that Obama is sticking them in an exchange. They are the big losers....

    October 30, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. 7734100

    ASAP? What the fork does that mean?
    .
    Is this also a "promise"?

    October 30, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. Joe C

    Obamacare is gonna do nothing but bankrupt this country, the middle class will wind up paying for all the bums who sit home day in and day out collecting my hard earned money through my taxes. Food Stamps system in this country is a joke, these bums who collect it need to find a job and stop having 10 babies so they get more government money.

    October 30, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  15. joe hewitt

    i just need good health care that wont cost a house payment. all good things take time. i live in south carolina where our govenor nikky haily only looks after the rich. she does not care about the poor or middle class. at least that what her actions say. the tea party are the problem in this country. they are even at odds with there own party. they are a problem that needs to be delt with and disband before they start a civil war. the citizens off this country are not going to continue to put up with this. the affordable care act is law. and those who continue to disobey this law should be prosecuted and put on trail for treason. obana is our president and should be respected as such.

    October 30, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  16. Texas

    He can do whatever he wants for the next 3 years reall.

    October 30, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. Rae

    "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.

    Mr. President, how do you explain yourself for causing people to lose insurance through the new system?

    October 30, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. Name

    Where were these republicans at 8 years ago when Medicare part d started, now there was a mess... Oh wait that was a law they pushed through, so nothing was said

    October 30, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  19. lOST

    Why are comparisons being made between the two? Irresponsible.

    October 30, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  20. streetwise

    All this seems like a way to rob the average worker and wash,money that insurance companies Will give back partially in campaign contributions. Just one more thing. Why,here in the Midwest where people are still struggling and jobs are scarce,cities are bankrupt,and most are cutting back on services and schools are reducing their staff,casinos are popping up faster than super wal marts.

    October 30, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  21. Brian

    "Obama says he'll get website 'fixed ASAP'"

    He also said this law would reduce everyone's premiums by $2500 per year and everyone could keep their plan if they wanted to.

    October 30, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. John Citizen

    Does he take responsibility for GDP never having been over 2% since he took office?

    Does he take responsibility for talking abut jobs but doing nothing about it.

    This narcissist is UNQUALIFIED to hold office, and in my opinion

    He lied about keeping your health plan and IMPEACHMENT proceedings should begin post haste.

    October 30, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  23. SM

    The Fix is easy, Just have the people with last name starting A–E login during the first week of December, and then F-J the second week of December and so on.. then when done , it is back to normal where everyone can login.

    October 30, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  24. marcwinger.com

    Scandal after scandal.

    October 30, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. sno

    I guess everybody have different meaning for ASAP. 4 weeks passed and ASAP moved to end of November . I want to remind that they had 3 years and unlimited amount of money to prepare the site.
    Obama bailed out corporations.
    Only middle class has no time and will be penalised for trusting Obama with his promises to lower health care premiums and other ....

    October 30, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
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