Obama on Obamacare Web site problems: ‘Nobody’s madder than me.’

President Obama speaks about health care from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 21, 2013.(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) President Obama speaks about health care from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 21, 2013.(Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Obama acknowledged Monday that the Web site created to handle enrollments for his landmark health-care law "hasn't worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work," and he pledged that his administration would fix the problems.

"The problem has been that the Web site that's supposed to make it easy to apply for and purchase insurance  -- there's no sugar-coating it, the Web site is too slow," Obama said during remarks in the Rose Garden. "Nobody's more frustrated than I am. I want the cash registers to work."

Flanked by ordinary residents and small business owners who stand to benefit from the Affordable Care Act, the president aimed to restore public confidence in the online application portals for the federal health-care law.

"We're doing everything we can possibly do to get the Web site working faster, better," he said. "People are working overtime to boost capacity. ... Nobody's madder than me, which means it's going to get fixed."

The problems that have plagued the site have threatened to undermine Obama's signature domestic policy achievement. Just three weeks into its rollout, the site has had trouble processing requests, and the administration has added a team of outside computer programmers to try to assess and fix the problems.

Obama said nearly 20 million people have visited the site, emphasizing the demand for the affordable health-care options the new program is supposed to provide. However, he acknowledged that many people have been unable to enroll in the online exchanges.

The president also acknowledged that his Republicans opponents would point to the setback as evidence that the Affordable Care Act is a failure.

"That's the one thing that unifies the party these days," Obama said of the GOP. "Given the problems of the Web site, they'll look to go after it even harder."

But, he said, the health-care options in the new program are "a good deal. People don't just want it; they're showing up to buy it."

President Obama, speaking Monday in the Rose Garden at the White House, told Americans that despite problems with his health care website, the process of buying insurance is now easier, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)
David Nakamura covers the White House. He has previously covered sports, education and city government and reported from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Japan.

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Anne Bartlett · October 21, 2013