What many expected to be an apology on Monday turned into more of a campaign stop for President Barack Obama. The President stood in the Rose Garden and addressed some 100 people who were clearly supporters of this administration. The expectation from many in the press was that this speech was going to be an apology of sorts regarding the recent glitches with the ACA website.
The President, however, had another plan in mind.
Instead of apologizing for the issues Americans have run into while trying to sign up for Obamacare, he seized the moment to tout what he believes are good points to his healthcare plan. He claimed that in some instances “it’s exceeding expectations” in the sense that “prices are lower and choices are greater.” Prices are lower and choices are greater than what exactly? Americans have far fewer choices in health plans now than before Obamacare was implemented. According to many, their policies’ prices have only skyrocketed as a result of the new healthcare law.
Obama tried to steer the public away from the problems and glitches by claiming that ultimately the health insurance plan is more that “just a website” and that the insurance available to people is “just fine.” How can it be “just fine” if the main source for signing up isn’t working properly?
It has been three weeks since the ACA website went live and the glitch stories started rolling in. The President said the glitches can be fixed and that his administration is bringing in the best inside and outside help to help address the problems. It’s been three weeks! Why haven’t these problems been addressed before now? Some may say the government shutdown is the reason the issues haven’t been solved, but I find that hard to believe. If the President feels like everyone deserves health insurance, then shouldn’t he have been trying a little harder over the past three weeks to see that these issues are fixed in a timelier manner? And shouldn’t the best inside and outside help have been brought in prior to the website going live so they could have tried to prevent some of these glitches from happening in the first place?
The President tried to focus on those who have managed to sign up for health insurance using the ACA website. According to the White House, half a million people have applied for insurance since the website went live three weeks ago. But the question still remains how many have actually chosen a plan and enrolled under the new law? They only plan to release enrollment numbers on a monthly basis, so October’s numbers should be available sometime in early November.
There have been changes made to the website, including links for people to download hard copies to fill out and send in via snail mail, and also a number they can call in order to sign up over the phone. Approximately 1.2 million calls have been processed for those seeking information, but the numbers for those who actually signed up over the phone are still unknown.
The President stated there should be “no sugarcoating” of the problems the website has faced the past three weeks. But unfortunately that’s exactly what he did in his speech yesterday. He offered little explanation for what exactly the computer bugs are, as well as little explanation as to how exactly those bugs are going to be fixed and how long that might take. There was a lot of talk in his 25 minute speech but very little substance. Americans want answers and an apology for the problems, but what they got was a campaign speech about why they should continue to support this plan. Maybe they should move to solving the problem, as it appears the support for this campaign is dying, and it’s dying fast.