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. lkasdjflkfaskl;

    So besides being a great politician, a nobel peace prize winner, and the best president of all time... he is also an IT guru. I am almost impressed.

    October 30, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. Relictus

    There is no excuse for this website functioning at anything less than full capacity. None. These guys are shameless. It's NOT like building a bridge or road. A website is all code and servers. Plus, apparently, one wealthy sucker getting taken for a fat ride.

    October 30, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  3. Bjorn Bjornsen

    Mr. President ... you had over two years and $300 million dollars to make it work right :s

    October 30, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. MesaMax

    Who takes full responsibility for CAUSING the problem, Mr. President???

    October 30, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  5. Shawn

    "Just shop around". AKA – "Let them eat cake"

    October 30, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  6. Matt

    These lying people have made healthcare in America worse. Time for the corrupt president and every piece of trash involved in this scandal to go to jail. Bottom line, they NEED TO BE OUT!

    October 30, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  7. Allinstride

    Man, he is everywhere! Yesterday, he knew nothing about the problems, today he will save the day!

    October 30, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  8. Lynne

    So what! Doesn't make it go away. It's like saying "Oh so sorry I hit you with my SUV" So tired to the no responsibility!

    October 30, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  9. Wynn Silwnce

    Poor incompetent Obama. Romney would have been a much better leader !

    October 30, 2013 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. Big Joe

    My lying, manipulating, community planner, know-about-nothing President told me...

    You better shop around

    (Because you can't keep your existing coverage like I have been promising for the last three years)

    October 30, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  11. rob0rah

    Too bad he's not happy! I'm not happy either!

    October 30, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  12. Steve- Illinois

    Hire Mitt Romney, he'll get it fixed for ya! Or....keep flushing the cash to "contributors", and your wife's schoolmates!

    October 30, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  13. allison

    SOOOOOOOOOOOO – the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES is going to sit down in front of a computer and FIX the website

    WOW where was this SUPER PRESIDENT when they started down this road !!! ????

    October 30, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  14. jschmidt

    He's an accomplished liar.

    October 30, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  15. dcny

    you cannot just hire thousands of contractors at very low to avg rate and this thing going, delivery of such large initiative requires folks who are dedicated, have background and personality to see the things delivered in a right manner , right on time and meeting all the quality requirements. for that you need to hire few but pay them well.

    October 30, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  16. Geton Em

    The system is always down. What happens when you need to be on the operating table and the DEMs shut down the Government again. Will you make it to your operation once the Gov't opens back up? They need to keep the site down and not go forward with this Law!

    They are already talking about increasing the Tax on the young people for not signing up for a plan. What a joke! A bad joke!! Their original estimates on the cost are way off, and they are scrambling to come up with a way to generate more income to finance this beast! It is going to cost over 10 times more based on their new estimates, and they are still counting their eggs before they hatch!

    Did you hear what Sebelius said at the hearing today. She said, "I can't believe your doing this to me." I have to say back to her. "I can't believe you shoved this bill down American's throat!"

    October 30, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  17. AJTurtle

    When the President tossed the term "overtime" into his response to the fixing of the mistakes as soon as possible? I worked for the Federal Government nearly all my adult life. I know first hand how contractors shorthand the tax payers so that later they can be awarded massive contracts to fix their monumental mistakes. I'm not surprised at all that this has occurred. It's been this way for years. Even Hollywood has parodied this type of behavior. Judd Hirsh in the movie Indepence Day said it best when he commented on the price of a toilet seat or a hammer. The fact is the whole system is so corrupt that the recent government shutdown, it was probably done by design so that somebody could profit somehow so that nothing would get done at some point! The way the Republicans are engineering this onslaught on the President. It's like PAYBACK. Incredible. Who ever gets blamed, will only be a Scapegoat with a fatter set of pockets. It won't be the ones, or one, that really deserve to be, well imprisoned, to tell the truth! They all are corrupt.

    October 30, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. Federico Escobedo

    Dumb question, but in "Obama-terms", what does ASAP mean? One day, 10 days, 10 months, 10 years??

    October 30, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  19. joe

    more and more lies this fool is like the energizer bunny-his lieas never quit

    October 30, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  20. cbp

    It is not surprising that a venture as big as The Affordable Care Act is having problems getting started. We all need to have some patience here. For months the opposition railed against this legislation and the Secretary and the President spent inordinate amounts of time answering the critics. The house has tried to defund this legislation 40 or more times and never once thought to try to get it off the ground with their assistance.

    Computers do not always work as expected. New programs have bugs – even the best companies have problems. Can we finally look at what is being offered and why some policies do not pass the muster.

    We continually try to tear things apart instead of making them right.

    October 30, 2013 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  21. VM

    Obama says he will do a lot of things. His words are hollow, empty, and self-serving.

    October 30, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  22. Jack Alex

    The President is a joke.

    October 30, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  23. Guest

    it's not the website that is the problem. It's the crappy healthcare he has forced on us.

    October 30, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  24. Al

    In the same manner as the website is broken and ineffective, so will this Abortion of a Democrat health care law. This country is following the same path that Canada did, and today there are many Canadians that come to the United States to get medical services that the Canadian government claims is not needed, or they are to old for the surgery.

    October 30, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  25. midas360

    He's not getting anything fixed. All this guy did was campaign all day.

    October 30, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
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