The Affordable Care Act has been around a lot longer than the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov, President Obama reminded executives Tuesday.
“Many parts of the Affordable Care Act are already in place and working exactly how they’re supposed to,” he said at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Meeting.
The president pointed to what he said were a number of successful Obamacare provisions that have already been implemented: better deals on employer coverage; allowing children under 26 to stay on their parents’ plans; lower prescription-drug prices for seniors; and rebates for those whose insurers are spending too much on administrative costs rather than care.
As for the website itself, Obama said the price and products were good, and that competition in the marketplace had caused insurers to bid prices that were lower than expected.
However, Obama said he has learned a few lessons from the tech side of the experience. “We probably underestimated the complexities of building out a site that works the way it should,” he said.
Obama echoed the need for reform in the procurement process for federal information technology, which has received bipartisan support in Congress recently, saying the way the government does IT procurement now is not very efficient. “There’s probably no bigger gap in the private and public sector than IT,” he said.
The president cited partisan opposition to the law as a challenge that has created a rockier rollout than he anticipated. “One side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure,” he said, which makes the process of getting the site fixed more difficult.
Yet Obama remained optimistic that the website problems would be fixed. “I am confident that the model we built off the existing insurance system will succeed,” he said. The two requirements, the president said, are getting the site working, and remarketing and rebranding the law in the current political environment.