Carney: Americans 'Don't Want an Effective Website'

By Susan Jones | December 3, 2013 | 8:08am EST

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (AP File Photo/Caroyn Kaster(

( - Yes, the launch of was "unsuccessful," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Monday. But that's beside the point, he suggested:

"I think the heart of the matter is, was the launch of the website unsuccessful? The answer is yes. Was it absolutely our responsibility to take every measure necessary to make the fixes we could make so that that website functioned more effectively for the Americans who want -- they don't want an effective website. They want health insurance. They want affordable, quality coverage. And that's what we're working to achieve."

Most of the questions directed at Carney on Monday involved the problem-plagued website, which was quickly overwhelmed with visitors -- 375,000 by Monday noontime, Carney said. The "improved" website, instead of shutting down, is now supposed to send excess visitors into a waiting queue, where they may leave an email address requesting notification when the website isn't so busy.

'Private sector does some things...better than government can'

Over the weekend, the Obama administration said the technical team is now "operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness" as it continues to improve the website.

Can the government keep up that pace in the days ahead? a reporter asked Carney.

"Well, I'd say a couple of things about that. The answer is yes, we can, in the days ahead, continue to work around the clock, as we have in recent days and weeks, to make the necessary improvements," Carney said.

"Two: What is absolutely the case is that the private sector does some things very well and better than the government can, and running effective websites may be one of them, is one of them. What the Affordable Care Act demonstrates is that it is important for government to take action in order to, for example, do something the private sector has failed to do, which is reduce the inflation rate in health care costs.

"What we saw prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act was enormous increases annually in the amount of money that this country spends on health care. And what we have seen since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, contradicting every prediction made by Republicans who opposed it, is that the cost of health care and the growth in those costs have been declining. And that is a significant goal set by the Affordable Care Act and a significant achievement over these three years. These three years have seen the lowest growth in health care costs of any time in the past half-century."

The sluggish economy -- not the Affordable Care Act -- is the main reason for the lower growth in health care costs, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. And while Obamacare will subsidize premiums for some Americans, others will pay much more than they did previously for an insurance policy that, by law, covers services they may not need.

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