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POLITICS: PennAve

Obama: GOP 'invested' in health law failing

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Health and Human Services,Republican Party,Health Care,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Healthcare.gov

President Obama on Tuesday laid part of the blame for Obamacare's problem-riddled rollout on Republicans, saying that “one side of Capitol Hill was invested in failure.”

Recalling how he and his supporters had to “fight tooth and nail” to get the law passed by a slim margin in Congress, Obama said his administration should have anticipated that dynamic would create a “rockier rollout – that one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure and that makes the iterative process of fixing glitches and fine-tuning the law” difficult.

Obama was speaking to an audience at the Wall Street Journal's annual CEO Council, and responding to a question about the lessons he and his team have learned over the last several weeks from the botched rollout of the Obamacare website.

“We probably underestimated the complexities of building out a website that needed to work the way it should,” he said.

Obama also singled out the federal government’s information procurement process.

“I probably could have identified earlier the way the federal government does procurement and does IT is just generally not very efficient,” said Obama.

“What we probably needed to do on the front-end is blow up the way we do procurement for IT,” he said.

The troubled rollout of the healthcare.gov website intended to register consumers in Obamacare's new insurance exchanges and the president's broken promise that the public could keep their current health plans even under the new law threaten to undermine support for the law.

But Obama tried to assure business leaders at the event that the website issues would get fixed. The president aid he is dedicated to getting the website up and running for the vast majority of the American people trying to enroll through it.

“We are getting it fixed but it would have been better to do it on the front end, not the back end,” he said.

Obama also pointed to the mere 123 people who signed up on the Massachusetts health care exchanges during its first month.

“There's no doubt we have lost some time but the website is getting better every day and the prices are good – they are not changing,” he said. “I think we're going to have time to catch up.”

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Susan Crabtree

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner