- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Obama backs Sebelius despite Obamacare website glitches
Two weeks into the federal government’s disastrous launch of Obamacare’s online marketplaces, the White House said Tuesday that President Obama still supports beleaguered Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in spite of calls for her resignation.
Complaints about the user-unfriendliness of HealthCare.gov are pouring in from consumers, insurers, opponents of the administration and even from presidential allies such as former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who called the program’s rollout “excruciatingly embarrassing.”
“She, like everyone else in this effort, is focused on our No. 1 priority, which is making the implementation of the Affordable Care Act work well.”
But even Mr. Obama is privately expressing unhappiness with the product launch, with some Republican senators who met with him at the White House late last week describing the president as “angry” about Obamacare’s numerous glitches. Across the country, people have reported an inability to sign up on the websites for coverage, even with specially-trained aides to assist them.
As complaints about the website’s poor design have risen, the administration has largely ditched its initial explanation that the program was suffering from too much popularity and high user demand. One reporter tried unsuccessfully for more than 10 days to create an account, even at low-demand times such as 3 a.m.
Mr. Carney hinted at Mr. Obama’s annoyance when he said, “The president wants these matters addressed because he wants to make sure that Americans across the country have the best possible consumer experience as they look at their options and the plans available to them.” He added that, on the president’s orders, “people are working 24/7 to resolve the problems that have arisen.”
Many Democrats are expressing relief that the government shutdown saga, which coincided with the start of the Obamacare marketplaces, has shielded the administration from worse news coverage about the program’s dreadful start. A question about Obamacare’s problems at Tuesday’s White House press briefing was the first one from the White House press corps in more than a week.
Two Republican lawmakers, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas and Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana, have called on Mrs. Sebelius in the past week to resign. Mr. Fleming said Tuesday that she should step down because her department had three years to prepare for the debut of online insurance markets, and he called the program “a ship in search of an iceberg.”
“The rest of it is going to get a lot worse,” Mr. Fleming told Fox News. “It’s actually going to go down from here, not up. We may find Bigfoot before we actually find an enrollee.”
“There’s so much wrong, you just don’t know what’s broken until you get a lot more of it fixed,” Mr. Bertolini said on CNBC. “We were pretty nervous as we got further along. As they started missing deadlines, we were pretty convinced it was going to be a difficult launch.”
The Obama administration won’t say how much taxpayers have spent to design the online marketplaces, but others have estimated the cost at more than $630 million. Mr. Carney said Tuesday he didn’t know how much extra the government would need to spend to correct the problems.
Leading up to the opening of insurance markets Oct. 1, the White House generally deflected questions about its own expectations of how consumers would respond. Officials instead cited a congressional estimate that 7 million people would gain coverage in the first year through the markets, which offer subsidized private insurance to people who don’t have a job-based health plan.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Republicans take shots as Obama vacations, again
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- Obama continues push for minimum wage hike that CBO says will cost 500K jobs
- Obamas, Bidens jetting off to warm resorts for mini-vacations
- Obama, first lady to promote access to student loans
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama and Boehner congratulate U.S. men's hockey on win over Russia
- Americans say income gap will shrink if government butts out, poll shows
- WH spokesman Jay Carney recognizes beard's 'insufficiency,' shaves it off
- Obama misses deadline again on budget
- Biden burns rubber in driveway, laments road restrictions
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Russia should be booted from FIFA World Cup, senators say
- New tool helps figure Obamacare penalties
- Tax-prep firms pitch in, cash in on Obamacare
- Obama tries to reassure Hispanics on Obamacare
- Half of uninsured look to Obamacare exchanges for coverage
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- 'Blarney Blowout' near UMass results in 73 arrests; 4 officers injured
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again