(Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP)
WASHINGTON -- President Obama said Monday that problems with the new health care website are inexcusable, but argued that the law overall will benefit millions of Americans.
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While Healthcare.gov "hasn't worked as as smooth as it was supposed to have worked," Obama said in a White House speech that thousands of once-uninsured Americans have signed up for coverage.
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Obama said his health care team is reaching out to tech experts to help fix massive website problems that have hampered the rollout of his landmark piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act.
"Nobody's more frustrated by that than I am," Obama said. "There's no excuse for the problems."
Saying that "we are doing everything we can possibly do," Obama said that "we are confident we will get all the problems fixed."
Aside from the website, Obama said the new health care law is providing consumer protections and benefits for millions of Americans, including mammograms and birth control services. He told stories of now-covered Americans who had once been denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
"The essence of the law ... is working just fine," Obama said.
Congressional Republicans who opposed the 2010 health care law said the initial problems call the entire program into question.
Citing reports that few people have signed up for health care exchanges, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that "another campaign-style event won't solve the myriad problems facing consumers under Obamacare."
McConnell said that "for months, the American people have been learning about the impact Obamacare will have on individuals and families in the form of higher premiums, disrupted insurance and lost jobs -- more broken promises from the administration."
In his speech, Obama said the website isn't the only way people can sign for health care coverage. He said call centers have expanded, and people can also apply in person at federal offices across the country.
In a blog post, the Department of Health and Human Services said some users of HealthCare.gov "have had trouble creating accounts and logging in to the site, while others have received confusing error messages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed to respond in a timely fashion."
As a result, HHS said it is "bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov."
The administration did not provide specific names of experts.
For his speech in the Rose Garden, the president was joined by consumers, small business owners and pharmacists who, the White House said, "have either benefited from the health care law already or are helping consumers learn about what the law means for them and how they can get covered."
Obama's guests also included "individuals who have already applied for and enrolled in quality, affordable coverage through the marketplaces and those who are planning to after exploring and comparing their new health care options," the White House said.