White House won’t rule out delay of Obamacare; buyers wait for website fix

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The White House is sticking with its original timetable even though the healthcare.gov website, designed as the central hub for all things Obamacare and the portal through which uninsured Americans can apply for coverage, remains riddled with glitches.

The administration, and the president himself, acknowledge that the site has serious problems.

On Tuesday, officials reiterated that federal workers and private contractors are working around the clock to repair the website. The Health and Human Services Department has tapped Jeffrey Zients, former White House budget director, to oversee the repairs.

Mr. Carney said there is time for the fixes to be made and for Americans to sign up before the deadlines.

“Improvements are being made and improvements were necessary and remain necessary. The important thing is, in the six-month open-enrollment period, there is going to be time for all those millions of Americans to look at the options available to them,” the spokesman told reporters.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, is pushing legislation to delay the mandate until the website is fully functional and consumers are able to reliably access it and seek insurance.

Other Republicans are echoing that call.

“The health care law’s disastrous rollout has created not only a competence question for the administration, but it has again raised the issue of fairness,” said Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health. “Forcing Americans to purchase a product that is too expensive and not accessible is unacceptable, unrealistic and unfair.”

Others said it’s too early to sound the alarm.

“For people who must rely on the federal exchange, there are still 160 days before the end of open enrollment, which seems to be more than enough time to work out the kinks in the online system and get people enrolled before they’d have to pay the individual responsibility fee,” said Holly Lynch, a health care policy and bioethics specialist at Harvard Law School.

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