The Obamacare exchanges opened for enrollment on October 1, but have been riddled with technical difficulties that are preventing people from signing up. People attempting to access the various websites set up by the federal government have encountered long wait times, error messages and the inability to create an account. (The federal government is responsible for running the exchanges in 36 states. Fourteen states are running their own exchanges.)
President Barack Obama said Monday that no one is more frustrated by the delays than he is:
[T]he problem has been that the website that's supposed to make it easy to apply for and purchase the insurance is not working the way it should for everybody. There's no sugarcoating it. The website has been too slow. People have getting stuck during the application process. And I think it's fair to say that nobody's more frustrated by that than I am. Precisely because the product is good, I want the cash registers to work, I want the checkout lines to be smooth, so I want people to be able to get this great product. And there's no excuse for the problems.
But he said the administration is doing everything it can to address the problems. He also reminded people that signing up online is not the only way to enroll, which can also be accomplished in person or by phone. "If one thing's worth the wait, it's the safety and security of health care that you can afford, or the amount of money that you can save by buying health insurance through the marketplaces," said Obama.
Republicans have opposed the health care law since it was passed in 2010, with the House voting dozens of times to repeal it and, recently, shutting down the government in an attempt to defund it. Some, like Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, have even suggested that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resign over the enrollment delays. They say the glitches prove that the program is flawed, and that the exchanges won't work because only sick people will sign up. (For Obamacare to be successfully implemented, healthy people must also enroll to keep insurance premiums low.)
Cruz also said Obamacare's failure wasn't limited to the exchange websites:
We already know Obamacare can't live up to its promises. President Obama promised Americans that their premiums would go down, taxes would stay low, millions of jobs would be created, and if they liked their healthcare plans, they could keep them. Instead, premiums are rising, taxes are higher, the economy is sputtering, and people are losing their plans.
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