White House chief of staff slams GOP's 'nostalgia' for even worse pre-Obamacare system

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President Obama's chief of staff Tuesday declared that Obamacare's website is “getting back on track,” and excused the difficulty reforming health care by declaring it harder to accomplish than peace in the Middle East.

“Reforming our healthcare system is not an easy task,” said Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff, at a health care forum sponsored by Georgetown University and the health-focused law firm Arent Fox.

“I’ve worked on many complicated issues: Middle East peace, Iran and budget deals. And I can tell everybody in this room that reforming the health care system is the single most complicated issue I’ve faced,” added McDonough.

“As the president often says,” he added, “there’s a reason why folks tried for over a hundred years and still hadn’t until a couple of years ago done it.”

McDonough said that the troubled federal Obamacare website is getting better each day and he revealed that it received one million visits on Monday. He said that the error rate has declined from 6 percent to 1 percent.

He also slammed Republican critics, claiming that they want to return to the costly system that Obamacare was designed to replace.

“There seems to be a strange outbreak of nostalgia here among some on the right in Washington for the pre-Affordable Care Act health care system. A system that covered too few people, in a maddeningly inefficient and often heart-breaking, and ultimately very expensive way,” he said.

“We were spending more each year and getting less. Our economy suffered, families suffered, and all of it was unnecessary,” he said, adding that the result of Obamacare will be lower deficits and higher paychecks.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.