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. sherry lynn farley

    It is obvious as the handwriting on the wall that the united states known as the land of the free and home of the brave is becoming more and more a socialistic government leaning more and more towards communism. It is part of bible prophecy as the antichrist begins to reign more and more.man becomes a number....the poor become poorer and the rich get richer...there will soon be no middle man.i am so thankful that as a christian my hope and faith is not in man...but in the maker and creator if the universe.the government of the great I AM shall go forth prevailing, conquering and overseeing over all.better to be in the hands of a living SAVIOUR than the unrighteous hands of fallen man.yes. land if the free and home of the brave.one nation undivided with liberty and justice for all?

    October 30, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  2. Howard Flynn

    What about the fact that he lied to everyone FOR YEARS?? "Shop around" is his excuse??? What good is a president who lies to your face over and over???

    October 30, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  3. billy

    obama forgot to tell the american people the are going to have to choose between buying insurance and buying food and the deductibles are so high you cant afford to get sick

    October 30, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  4. John Riley Goldsmith

    Just like he promised to fix the VA health care system in 30 days several months ago.

    October 30, 2013 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  5. abajuba

    Really, Obama is blaming anything but his failed social program?

    "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.

    His term of political office is mandated to end in about 3 years.......any other politicians who find themselves running for re-election would be well-advised to "just shop around" for something else to do!!

    October 30, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. brian

    nice. tricky wording. he takes responsibility for the 'fix', but the buck stops with sebelius re. the problem. typical.

    October 30, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  7. NormanDee

    The whole experience has been nothing short of a nightmare. Nobody has any information. I filled out a paper form, sent it to KY as directed. People keep apologizing, reading answers from a scrip and giving me some BS about guaranteeing that I will have insurance by January, guaranteeing that I will have this or that. So many calls with no information. I have been told that I can get no information until the Website is restored so meanwhile, I like millions of others are dangling in the wind. Thank goodness I have good health...I feel very sorry for people ho have a lot of health issues and Rx needs. This is the biggest mess I have ever witnessed, God help us. I tried to get on the website yesterday and English was unavailable, only Spanish. Then it goes to "the site is unavailable"....and people got paid to do this mess?!

    October 30, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. hender1123

    What good does it do for Obama to make such a statement? His administration had a blank check and all the time they needed. And then they set the job to a foreign country. His level of competence is the problem.

    October 30, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  9. run26mi

    Nice cover up CNN...nothing about the lies of Obama??? Nothing about his changing promises????
    What a disgraceful article!!!

    October 30, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  10. Mike

    Wow! The man knows .NET too!

    October 30, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. Joe H Fletcher

    Does he take the blame for it's incompetent start? Does he hold anyone responsible for sad this example of government incompetence? Why hasn't someone been fired? Words are cheap Mr. President, words are cheap.

    October 30, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. Andy

    Obama should resign for deceiving the American people and destroying their health care plans

    October 30, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  13. felixthecat

    The largest corporations in the world are complaining about the government collecting information? haha... they have more information on us than anyone and we bend over to give it to them lol

    October 30, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  14. Alan Porter

    I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP. Some apology. A little Narcissistic ?

    October 30, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  15. Daniel Webster

    He didn't "take responsibility". He took "responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP." It's not the same thing. But he said it that way so unprofessional journalist outlets could post headlines like this one to make it seem like he did.

    October 30, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  16. yem

    You don't like Obamacare, show me the alternative health care.

    October 30, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. Old favorite

    You can't pay for the type of comedy entertainment that comes out of the WH...

    October 30, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  18. Paul

    Obam cant find his backside with both hands. Whats your favorite food ??? Obam= brocoli= pathological liar comes to mind. if you voted once for this, that's understandable, twice makes you an idiot !

    October 30, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  19. Philip Marshall

    Obama says he takes full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP.
    Does he take full responsibility for it not working like it should? He needs to be accountable for this failure.

    October 30, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. Iamnotfooled

    He knocked it out of the Park!

    October 30, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  21. THE DUDE

    Ya know man, the dems rammed the ACA through on a partisan vote, they own this bill for better or worse. I wish their motives were altruistic instead of just a play for a generation of dependent voters.

    October 30, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  22. wttexas

    Obama should resign...

    October 30, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  23. Scott

    Obama has always had full responsibility for Obamacare. It is not comforting that he would now suddenly take full responsibility for Obamacare.

    October 30, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  24. Lane

    Sounds like a step towards socialism to me

    October 30, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  25. Fred Smith

    Yeah that is responsibility, blame it on Romey.

    October 30, 2013 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
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