President Barack Obama addressed the continuing problems with HealthCare.gov, the online health insurance marketplace, on Monday, saying that the website is "too slow" and acknowledging his own frustrations with the issues.
"The problem has been that the website that's supposed to make it easy to apply for and purchase the insurance is not working the way it should for everybody. There's no sugarcoating it. The website has been too slow. People have getting stuck during the application process," Obama said at a press conference from the Rose Garden. "And I think it's fair to say that nobody's more frustrated by that than I am. Precisely because the product is good, I want the cash registers to work, I want the checkout lines to be smooth, so I want people to be able to get this great product. And there's no excuse for the problems."
While assuring the public that these issues will be fixed, the president was quick to point out that the online method was not the only method of securing health insurance. The president also said that just because there is some difficulty accessing the product does not make the product any less valuable.
"Here's the bottom line. The product, the health insurance, is good. The prices are good. It is a good deal. People don't just want it; they're showing up to buy it," he said. "Nobody's madder than me about the fact that the website isn't working as well as it should, which means it's going to get fixed. And in the meantime, you can bypass the website and apply by phone or in person."
In the meantime, a "tech surge" of people from inside and outside the government is expected to join the Department of Health and Human Services in trying to figure out the issue and fix it permanently, Reuters reported.
When the website was launched, the problems were brushed off as just a result of the influx of site visitors eager to sign up on the first day. Three weeks later, that excuse no longer cuts it, with software and system-design issues coming to light.
"Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve healthcare.gov," the administration said in a blog post that was published Sunday on the HHS website. "We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of healthcare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site."
Republicans, who have looked for every opportunity to discredit the law (and repeal it), jumped on these issues as proof that the program is a failure.
"God only knows how much money they've spent, and it's a failure. You know, the government simply isn't going to be able to get this job done correctly," Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on CBS' Face the Nation, USA Today reported.