President Obama said in comments broadcast Tuesday, on the cusp of enrollment in Obamacare's exchanges, that of course there will be "glitches" in the implementation of the health reform — months of glitches, he added.
He made the remarks to NPR, while expressing confidence that his signature law will provide "the prospect that any American out there who does not currently have health insurance can get high-quality health insurance."
But the part that likely resonates the most: "In the first week, first month, first three months, I would suspect that there will be glitches," he said. "This is 50 states, a lot of people signing up for something. And there are going to be problems. And I guarantee you, there will be problems because we've got precedent. When Massachusetts, just one state, set this up, it took quite a long time. It took several months before everything was smooth."
His comments were broadcast as the online enrollment system for Obamacare went live, to numerous problems as reports trickled in of some exchange websites crashing, leaving users unable to access the needed information.
His Health and Human Service Secretary said the administration was working to fix glitches, but said they simply reflected the overwhelming need and desire for health-care reform.
"We have had a few slowdowns, a few glitches, but it's sort of a great problem to have," Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday on MSNBC. "It's based on the fact that the volume has been so high."
More than one million people visited Healthcare.Gov before 7 a.m., she said. By the end of the open enrollment period, which lasts six months, Ms. Sebelius said the target is to have 7 million people enrolled.
Mr. Obama's comments came as somewhat of a switch from his pre-Obamacare promises of a smooth and steady transition onto a more socialized form of health care.
But, he said to NPR, "I am very confident that despite some glitches — right, there may be some websites that you know, crashed early, there may be some call centers where it's taken a little bit too long — that despite all that, the basic prices that are going to be available to people and the choices that are going to be available to people provide us for the first time the possibility, the prospect that any American out there who does not currently have health insurance can get high-quality health insurance."
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