President Obama addressed problems with the roll out of the Obamacare individual mandate from the Rose Garden today saying how well Obamacare is working and that it is more than just a website. Speaking earlier today at the White House the President says there are plenty of other ways to enroll in the plan and the administration is “redoubling it’s efforts” to make sure these are all working. The President did not specifically address the problems with the website, instead using his time to once again “sell” the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) to the public.
Since the roll out began on October 1, there have been numerous problems with the Healthcare.gov website including the ability for people to log in, system crashes and erroneous information. These problems don’t even include the fact that many people have complained that once they are able to get on they are finding that their premiums are skyrocketing and the asking of very personal questions of the users in order for them to access the site. None of these issues were addressed by the President today in his speech. Instead President Obama continued to praise his signature piece of legislation as affordable and a good deal. He stressed there are other ways to enroll other than the website and once again stressed the reason the website crashed was because of the high demand. He assured the public that these problems will be worked out in a few weeks.
In what has become the norm with President Obama, he surrounded himself with supporters who applauded and cheered each time he mentioned the benefits of the program, deliberately pausing for affect each time. While he mentioned a few “success” stories, he failed to acknowledge the thousands if not millions of people who have been either unable to access the site, been told their premiums will go up, they will lose their current health plans and are being forced to buy coverage they either don’t need, want or is against their religious beliefs.
President Obama initially blamed the problems with the website on the number of people trying to sign up but he has since backtracked and said there have been some problems with the system although he has never addressed them directly. The Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) will be bringing in a team of experts from Silicon Valley to correct the problems. The initial cost of the website development is estimated to have been over $500 million, possibly over $600 million. There are claims the code for the website was poorly written, never tested and outdated technology was used. There have been calls for HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign over this and she will be called to testify in front of a Congress to explain what has happened although she originally refused to testify.
The website was designed by a US subsidiary of a Canadian company, CGI Federal, who according to the Washington Examiner was fired by the Canadian government in September, 2012 after they failed to meet deadlines and deliver a similar product for Canada’s healthcare registry. This same company is also responsible for the Health Care Exchanges in four other states three of which have experienced problems.
Written by: Paul Roy