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. Pat Steiner

    Hire Apple. They'll fix it.

    October 30, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  2. unretired05

    United Healthcare found a way to eliminate heart patients from their customer base, just take the cardiologists off the approved providers list. That way they aren't getting rid of them because of their condition, the policy holders are leaving because of the difficulty of finding and getting to a new doctor in a timely manner.
    This leaves a smaller more profitable group of clients.
    And who says insurance companies have no feelings?

    October 30, 2013 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  3. frank

    "And Obama challenged Republican opponents of Obamacare to come up with helpful ideas for health care instead of undermining the federal law." BO you want us toe shop around for coverage after you lied to us that we could keep what we had. Now it is canceled. Liar. You knew this would happen 3 years ago. Let the GOP give you ideas to fix this. Why? SO you can steal them and call them your own? You have not had an original thought since you got into office. You got your self single handedly into this fecal bowl now you get your self out single handedly.

    October 30, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  4. eddhur

    what does this mean

    October 30, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    I believe President Obama will follow through on this; he has every reason to and has shown his determination over these last 10 years.

    BTW, I work in software development and there are ALWAYS glitches when a new release is rolled out. The complexity is not an excuse, just a reason. And it will be fixed.

    October 30, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  6. mar

    Each state should have up days to 60 days to sign up.. starting with those who had no insurance, then those that have exsisting health problems, finally the one who want to change over.....possible changing the deadline date....for everyone should have insurane by thr end of the President's term is up without penalty... 2 states at a time over the next 3 years..

    October 30, 2013 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Grwohio

    I feel so mich better that obama is taking responsibility for fixing the web site.

    October 30, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. Air Lar

    Fixed. ASAP. Got it. We believe you. High five.

    October 30, 2013 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. ColoRN

    ...oh, really? WHEN has OBUMMER, OR his followers EVER accepted responsibility...ALWAYS someone else's fault. HOW do you apologize for outright lies?? To apologizes, means to have remorse for the lies....Obummer meant to deceive and is only upset because his lies were exposed.... JUST like with Bengahzi , IRS and NSA Spying scandal.

    October 30, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    We're sorry...the system is down at the moment. Please try again.
    We're sorry...the system is down at the moment. Please try again.
    We're sorry...the system is down at the moment. Please try again.
    We're sorry...the system is down at the moment. Please try again.

    October 30, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  11. TheBob

    Perhaps outsourcing to a foreign company that had previously failed miserably in delivering other websites wasn't the greatest idea in the world. Maybe do a little vetting next time. And hire Americans instead.

    October 30, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Didn't know Obama was an IT guy. But then again Al Gore created the Internet.

    October 30, 2013 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  13. gaypsp

    Obama was too stubborn to delay the roll-out, and now he's paying for it. I support Obama, but he's becoming the victim of his own choices.

    October 30, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  14. klempt@hotmail.com

    IT IS NOT about the website. It is about the law... it is what is broken. Wake up CNN.

    October 30, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  15. James

    This President is arrogant and incompetent along with his cabinet. What a disgusting mess. The country's decline continues...

    October 30, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  16. Maclogo

    And once again the President does not mention Anything about the yearly deductibles and individual co-pays that are there via the healthcare exchanges.

    I don't think he has Ever mentioned those financially crippling aspects of his wonderful healthcare "reform".

    And why again are people being FORCED to buy these healthcare plans if the plans are so great?

    October 30, 2013 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  17. NameGoose

    Obama and his administration need to go ASAP! He is nothing but a friggin liar. He has brought are country down. He is not only a racist but he is friggin stupid. I for one will never ever vote for a democrat. Obama will definitely go down in history as the worst President ever. All he cares about is giving more and more to the lazy asses who don't believe in working, while the ones who do work will be the ones paying for all the free loaders. This President and his administration are a joke. The whole world is laughing at us! I can't wait to election time. Republicans 2016!

    October 30, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. dmhennen

    He's a good puppet. Good boy Barry.

    October 30, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    This whole 2nd term of his really sucks.....who does he think he is???? JERK!!!

    October 30, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. Namepnm9pnm

    Health is important an there is a responsibly there with needs to keep wright ...pnm...

    October 30, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  21. Failure again

    So what if I lied to you and your insurance carrier sent you a letter to drop you.Just shop around for the new government insurance which is three times more than you were paying. So what if I promised that your insurance would be more affordable but now it has tripled. Get over it says our president. When will people wake up to this fool!

    October 30, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  22. NameThatsIt121

    I take full responsibility, but I am still going to blame everyone else...lol

    October 30, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  23. Craig

    I love it. Obama says "just shop around." But that is what the website was supposed to do, Mr. President.

    October 30, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. Name

    “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....
    Couldn't have said it any better myself.

    October 30, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. NameGoose

    If Romney was President this country would not be in the mess we are in. Obama has trashed are country. Obama and his administration need to go ASAP!

    October 30, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
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