When speaking in Boston, Obama was not happy about the technical glitches, though he was vocal in support of the Health Care Law. Earlier, his embattled health secretary apologized to the American people over the botched website rollout.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the largest overhaul of the US healthcare system since the 1960s.This law is popularly known as Obamacare. The main part of the law meant that consumers can shop online on the federal exchange for health policies, which could not happen due to glitches. Mr. Obama said in Wednesday's speech: "There's no denying it - right now the website is too slow. Too many people have gotten stuck. And I'm not happy about it. And neither are a lot of Americans who need healthcare." The Health Secretary, Kathleen said, "Hold me accountable for the debacle"
AdvertisementThe President added: "So there's no excuse for it. And I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP. We are working overtime to improve it every day." "Massachusetts has shown the model works," he said.
Mr. Obama praised other benefits of the health law which included government subsidies for health policy premiums and including insurance covers for people with pre-existing ailments. He also took a swipe at Republicans, who view the legislation as a costly, cack-handed and inappropriate government intrusion into healthcare, and have sought to undo or undermine it at every turn.
"If they put as much energy into making sure the law works as they do attacking the law, Americans would be better off," the Democratic president said. Addressing Americans, Ms Sebelius took full responsibility for the problems in the web site and said: "You deserve better. I apologize. I'm accountable to you for fixing these problems."
The health secretary, who is facing Republican calls for her resignation, said the website would be fully operational by the end of November. Committee chairman Fred Upton, a Republican, said the project was "inept", adding "the news seems to get worse by the day".
The committee's senior Democrat, Henry Waxman, agreed the launch "has not gone well", but said the "early glitches will soon be forgotten". Mr. Upton also objected to insurance companies cancelling earlier policies of thousands of Americans and having them enroll under Obamacare at higher premiums. This contradicts repeated assurances from Mr. Obama that people who like their existing insurance plans would be able to keep them under the health law.
Ms Sebelius clarified - that those whose plans were dropped would have access under the healthcare law to better insurance coverage at comparable rates. Aside from establishing the federal insurance websites and parallel ones run by 14 states plus Washington DC, the law bolsters coverage requirements for insurance firms, mandates that individuals carry insurance or pay a tax penalty, and offers subsidies to assist in the purchase of the insurance.
The Affordable Care Act also expands eligibility to the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor in states where governors have agreed to it.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Voice of America, Oct 2013
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