In Dallas, Obama reassures health law supporters that website fix is coming
November 6th, 2013
08:15 PM ET
6 months ago

In Dallas, Obama reassures health law supporters that website fix is coming

(CNN) – A fix that will allow Americans to shop for and enroll in federal health care exchanges online is coming soon, President Barack Obama reassured supporters of the Affordable Care Act in Dallas on Wednesday.

Speaking more than a month after the exchanges’ disastrous rollout, Obama again said he was frustrated a key portion of his signature law wasn’t working the way he’d planned.

“You've all heard about the website woes? Nothing drives me more crazy than the fact that right now there's great insurance to be had out there - choice and competition where people can save money for a better product - except too many folks haven't been able to get through the website,” Obama said at Dallas’ Temple Emanu-El.

Obama and other officials have repeatedly vowed to get HealthCare.gov working again for the majority of Americans by the end of November, though on Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius listed a long “punch list” of items to be completed before the site is fully functional.

“We are working overtime to get this fixed, and the website is already better than it was at the beginning of October,” Obama said in Dallas. “By the end of this month, we anticipate that it is going to be working the way it is supposed to.”

Obama's renewed effort to sell his health care law took him to the heart of Republican Texas, where he criticized the state's GOP leaders for rejecting a key facet of the Affordable Care Act that could extend coverage to millions of uninsured Texans.

Texas ranks highest in the nation in the percentage of people without insurance - a statistic the White House says makes the state ripe for participation in the new health care program.

But the state's Republican governor has resisted one aspect of Obamacare - the expansion of Medicaid for people with annual incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level. The U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 decision upholding the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate also said states could opt out of the Medicaid provision.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry did just that, saying the federal Medicaid program was already ineffective and that participating in the expansion and establishing a state exchange would amount to "brazen intrusions into the sovereignty of our state."

While some other Republican governors have also rejected the Medicaid expansion, others - including Ohio's John Kasich and Michigan's Rick Snyder - have adopted the program.

“There's no state that actually needs this more than Texas,” Obama said Wednesday of the Medicaid expansion, going on to cite Texas’ neighbors who have chosen to accept the federal money to extend coverage.

“They look at it and say this is a no brainer,” Obama said. “Why would we not want to take advantage of this?”

Perry, responding to Obama’s visit to his state, said in a statement that Texas needs “the flexibility to implement fundamental, state-specific reforms to our Medicaid program, instead of a one-size-fits-all Washington mandate, before it bankrupts our state.”

The former Republican presidential candidate went on to lambast the President’s 2009 and 2010 vow that Americans who liked their current health insurance could keep it, saying Obama had “deceived the American people.”

While Obama referenced that promise in a speech earlier this week, attempting to explain what he meant in the lead-up to the bill’s passage, he made no mention of the “if you like it, you can keep it” pledge on Wednesday.

In Dallas - where 28% of the total population goes without health insurance - Obama visited the city's Temple Emanu-El to see firsthand how people are signing up for the health care law.

"Navigators," or community members versed in the sign-up process, have been working through the website issues to help Americans enroll over the phone and through paper applications, though internal memos released this week indicated those methods still relied on the website to complete the sign-up process.

Obama praised the navigators’ work Wednesday, saying that even if the website had functioned perfectly, their help would still be needed to explain the various aspects of the law.


Filed under: 2013 • Healthcare • President Obama • Texas
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. MaryM

    Yes, the web site will be fixed. The infighting in the republican party will not be fixed anytime soon.

    November 6, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. CaliforniaAC

    Texas has the largest number of people without medical insurance, the most without aid to subsist, the most below the poverty line, the most disenfranchised voters. When Obamacare gets rolling, and it will, Texas will fall in line or risk becoming a blue state.

    November 6, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  3. ConcernedIndependent

    Obama is also reassuring UNIONS, concerned about the ACA, that he will give them $600+ Million IN TAX BREAKS. Libs just BUY votes, WITH YOUR MONEY!

    November 6, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  4. labman57

    With respect to the current technical glitches in the ObamaCare web site, Republicans want to delay the implementation of the ACA for at least a year in order to buy time needed to develop strategies for have it completely repealed or neutered. They are certainly not interested in using the time to improve the stability and security of the online resources.

    Bottom line: The web site will be fixed in a few weeks.
    The same cannot be said of the Republican Party and its self-destructive tea party faction.

    November 6, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  5. SteveinLVNV

    A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
    Vladimir Lenin.... The words this ineptocracy lives by!

    OWEbama's Unaffordable Care Act is a total FAILURE! Now he is telling another lie! Even IF the website does get fixed, it is only the visible symptom of more problems that haven't been seen yet. This train wreck must be shut down before it does even more damage to the economy, and no doubt cost at least some dems their seats. This mess shows how arrogant this empty suit is. He has been telling the American people for 3 years "If you like your healthcare policy, you can keep it"... Ad nauseaum. Now he is trying to readjust it! to fit.
    Sorry, your majesty, but you aren't fooling anyone... Your credibility is swirling in the bowl and going down!

    November 6, 2013 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  6. glass433

    Just one more example of a man who is president, but does not know how to do anything but campaign.
    Our country is trillions of dollars in debt, our national standing is falling on a daily basis, our workforce has double digit unemployment rates for an unsurpassed number of consecutive months, our percentage of people below poverty level is the highest ever, and businesses are scared to death to hire anyone because our stupid liberal congress passed a bill without knowing what was in it, and cannot accurately predict the outcome of a law that should NEVER have been passed..... and he is not finding any solutions. He is just worried about his ^^^^^^ legacy, which history will inevitably show won't be anything he or his descendants will be proud of. C'mon prez, lead the country, not just your party, your cronies, and those that have been trained to suck off the governments teat. you are killing the middle class.

    November 6, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    No REAL Texan would ever invite Obama into their home.

    November 6, 2013 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  8. freedom

    Navigator? Since when do Americans need navigators? This is a strange new manipulation Obama is putting into place – no thank you.

    November 6, 2013 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  9. Wes

    uhbama is a pathological liar.

    November 7, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  10. Tigas

    Why was the website not ready on October 1st?

    November 7, 2013 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  11. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Those 24 states who refused to set up their own exchanges and would not take the money for the medicaid expansion, have really hurt their citizens. It must be a republican thing. Perry had no trouble taking stimulus money, but instead of getting it to those who should have been helped, I heard he used it to pay down the Texas state debt.

    November 7, 2013 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  12. Wire Palladin, S.F.

    Perry needs to listen to Ohio governor Kasich about taking the medicaid expansion, and then Rick may learn about one of the many duties of the office of being governor. Perry is purposely hurting a million Texans.

    November 7, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  13. Tampa Tim

    In Florida, Scott refused the Medicaid money, and that hurt 800,000 people. We have 4.5 million uninsured in Florida, and because of our elected baggers, we have no header ship in Talahassee remotely interested in helping Floridians.

    November 7, 2013 07:14 am at 7:14 am |