Obama Wants 'Best Possible Consumer Experience' for Obamacare Subscribers
(CNSNews.com) - Despite major problems with the new online health care exchanges, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "does have the full confidence of the president," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday.
Carney said Sebelius "is focused on our number one priority," which is making the Affordable Care Act "work well."
"You know, the fact is, the president wants these matters addressed because he wants to make sure that Americans across the country have the best possible consumer experience as they look at their options and the plans available to them and see the fact that for so many of them, there is affordable health insurance out there that was never there before.
"And I think it's important to note that even amidst this early stage of the enrollment process, and even though there have been challenges with the website, there are Americans across the country who are, through call centers and through the website and through the states, getting access to this information and making -- seeing what choices are available to them and enrolling if they're ready to enroll."
Quoting from various newspaper reports, Carney mentioned several people who have been able to buy cheaper health insurance for themselves and their families on the new exchanges.
"So this is why we're doing this. This is -- these are the people we're focused on helping. And the president is committed and has instructed his team to work 24/7 to resolve the issues that have arisen when it comes to implementation."
Asked to give a "time frame" for when the health care exchanges will be fully functional -- and who will pay for the fix -- Carney referred the reporter to Health and Human Services Department and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
"I can tell you that, at the president's direction, people are working 24/7 to resolve the problems that have arisen and, you know, taking steps to make sure that those many, many millions of Americans who are interested in the options available to them to purchase affordable health insurance -- in many cases, for the first time -- have the best consumer experience possible. And there are a lot of people hard at work on this, but for details of the work being done and the process in place, I'd refer you to HHS."
In an interview with MSNBC on Monday, Carney's predecessor, Robert Gibbs, said the rollout of the new online exchanges "was bungled badly."
He called it "excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and for the Department of Health and Human Services,” adding that the problems stem from defective website architecture, not just a server problem.
“I hope they’re working day and night to get this done,” Gibbs continued. “And when they get it fixed, I hope they fire some people who were in charge of making sure this thing was supposed to work. We knew there were going to be some glitches. But these are glitches that go, quite frankly, way beyond the pale of what should be expected.”
Several public figures, including Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), have called for Sebelius to be fired.