The Obama administration vowed Friday that the problem-plagued, federal website handling Obamacare's public health exchanges would be fixed by the end of November.
“By the end of November, the vast majority of consumers will be able to smoothly enroll,” former Office of Management and Budget Director Jeff Zients, appointed by the administration to review the glitch-filled website, told reporters.
It's the first time the administration has issued a timeline for when the federal health website would be fixed.
Zients also announced that a new general contractor — Quality Software Systems Inc. — had been selected to oversee the changes to the website.
QSSI was one of the contractors involved with implementing healthcare.gov. The firm, however, was in charge of building the data hub, which Zients said has been working smoothly.
Even with the new timeline, the administration will still face criticism for not successfully creating a website for which they had years to plan.
“It's getting better, and it will get better every week,” Zients insisted.
Administration officials, however, did not offer details on how many people they expect to enroll in a new health plan by the end of next month.
The White House has encouraged Americans to sign up for the health exchanges by phone or through traditional mail, as the website continues to be overwhelmed by technical issues. However, such methods are unlikely to meet the benchmarks for enrollment that the administration identified ahead of the launch date.
Critics of Obamacare have seized on the website’s problems, arguing that the administration should delay the individual mandate which fines those who do not have health insurance.
House Republicans will also hear testimony next week from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.
President Obama has said that while he is frustrated with the website’s problems, the overall health law is a “good deal” for Americans and has extended benefits for millions.