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WDKX.com » Blog » Obamacare's Rocky Start: Hiccup Or Sure Sign Of Failure?
Oct 21st 2013 6:24 am
Obamacare's Rocky Start: Hiccup Or Sure Sign Of Failure?
by news

In the eyes of some Republicans, one of the cruelest ironies of the recent government shutdown was its overshadowing of the rollout of Obamacare's insurance exchanges - an inauspicious, glitch-ridden debut that even the law's most ardent supporters were hard-pressed to defend.

The circus that attended the shutdown prevented the public and the media from focusing more completely on the website problems that stymied thousands who tried to explore the online insurance marketplace on healthcare.gov. Stories about privacy concerns and technological glitches that might have led evening newscasts, for example, were pushed to the back-burner by the fiscal food fight.

But now, with the budget war abated, at least temporarily, Obamacare's clumsy debut is again front-and-center on the political stage. And for Democrats, that could be a big problem.

It's clear they're trying to get out in front of the growing controversy. A senior administration official tells CBS News that President Obama is very upset with the problematic rollout, and that he finds the glitches with the website unacceptable.

On Monday, Mr. Obama will host an event at the White House to "to discuss how the health care law is strengthening health benefits and coverage for Americans," according to a White House official. He will be joined at the event by people who are already benefitting from the law, including some who have already managed to sign up for health insurance through the exchanges.

Democrats in the White House and Congress insist that, despite the rough beginning, the law will eventually accomplish exactly what it set out to do. The administration has announced that nearly half a million people had already completed applications - only the first step in the process, but a substantial one.

"The product - quality, affordable insurance - is good, and if anything, the interest and demand at the launch of HealthCare.gov proves just how urgently Americans want and need access to these new health care options," the White House official explained.

"The number one worry before we started was: Are people going to be interested? Will people sign up?" recalled Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." And based on the number of applications submitted, he explained, "the answer to that is, overwhelming, yes."

"I think the computer glitches are being used by a good number of people who never wanted Obamacare in the first place as an excuse to just sort of bash it," he said.

The technological problems have "to be fixed," added House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on ABC's "This Week." "But what doesn't have to be fixed is the fact that tens of millions more people will have access to affordable, quality health care."

The administration has vowed to redouble its efforts to induct consumers into the exchanges, taking the website offline at various intervals for repairs and expanding the availability of offline options - like call centers or paper applications - to allow people to sign up for insurance in the absence of a functioning website.

Source:CBS News