“The Affordable Care Act is not just a Web-site — it’s much more,” President Barack Obama said today in the Rose Garden, surrounded by people who have benefited in one way or another from the health-care law he won in 2010.
The faltering Web-site, however, is a problem. And now that attention has turned from Republican attempts to defund or delay the president’s signature health-care program, the spotlight is on the program’s problems.
“There is no sugar-coating it,,” the president said today. “I think it’s fair to say, nobody is more frustrated than I am… I want the cash registers to work. I want the check-out lines to move.”
Even for all it’s problems, HealthCare.Gov is working for some, he said. And once people have completed the process, they have found good deals.
Also, the country is only three weeks into a six-month open enrollment, he said. And unlike the holiday sales for big-screen TVs, he said, the product will not run out.
“Everybody who wants insurance through the marketplace will get insurance, period,” he said. Also, “we are doing everything we can possibly do” to get the Web-site running better. “We are confident we will get all the problems fixed.”
Technicians are working “24/7” on the Web problems, he said, yet at the same time they have staffed up call centers — 1 800 318 2596 — where people can enroll in the health-care exchanges by telephone. The wait times are short, he said, and the application takes about 25 minutes.
The majority of Americans with insurance already are benefiting, he said. Some have been able to stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. Another provision provides discounts for prescription. “Billions already have been saved,” he said, “and preventative care like birth control and mammograms are free.
“That’s part of this law… There are a wide range of consumer benefits and protections that you already have… And they’re not dependent on a Web-site,” the president said. “The product is good… People can save money, significant money, by getting insurance that’s provided through these marketplaces… And we now the demand is there..”
“Here’s the bottom line. The product is good… The prices are good,” he said. “It’s a good deal.”
“Nobody is madder than me about the Web-site not working” as well as it should, he said. “That means it’s going to get fixed.”
For Republicans, he said, repealing Obamacare has been a rallying idea. The Web-site’s failings make it vulnerable to more attack, he said, but “we did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a Web-site…. We waged this battle so that millions of Americans” have access to better health care.
“If the launch of this Web-site proves anything,” he said, “it’s not just that people across the country need that security — they want it.”
“It is time for folks to stop rooting for its failure,” he said, “because hard-working middle-class families are rooting for its success.”