Obama promised a few weeks ago that HealthCare.gov “will work much better on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, than it worked certainly on Oct. 1.” But, in trying to lower expectations, he said he could not guarantee that “100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time going on this website will have a perfectly seamless, smooth experience.”
Obama rightly predicted errors would remain. The department reported the website was up and running 95 percent of the time last week — meaning a 1-in-20 chance remains of encountering a broken website. The government also estimated that pages crashed at a rate less than once every 100 clicks.
“Yes, there are problems,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. “There’s no denying that. Let’s work to fix them.”
The nation’s largest health insurer trade group said significant problems remain and could be a barrier for consumers signing up for coverage effective Jan. 1.
“HealthCare.gov and the overall enrollment process continue to improve, but there are significant issues that still need to be addressed,” said Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans.
Republicans, betting frustration about the health care law is their best bet to make gains in 2014′s congressional and gubernatorial elections, continued their criticism of the system.
“I don’t know how you fix it, I’ll be honest,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. “I don’t know how you fix a program that was put together in this manner with only one side of the aisle, and taking the shortcuts we’re taking to put it in place.”
Democrats, sensing their potential vulnerability, sought to blame Republicans for not offering ideas on how to improve the website.
“Yes, we have to fix it. We should be working together to fix it,” said Van Hollen, a former chairman of the committee tasked to elect more Democrats to the U.S. House.
The first big test of the repaired website probably won’t come for a few more weeks, when an enrollment surge is expected as consumers rush to meet a Dec. 23 deadline so their coverage can kick in on the first of the year.
Avoiding a break in coverage is particularly important for millions of people whose current individual policies were canceled because they don’t meet the standards of the health care law, as well as for a group of about 100,000 in an expiring federal program for high-risk patients.
Ellison spoke to ABC’s “This Week.” Rogers and Van Hollen were interviewed on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Corker joined CBS’ “Face the Nation.”