Obama: Obamacare Really Is More Than a Website

President Obama speaks about fiscal policy at George Washington University on April 13, 2011 in Washington, DC. President Obama laid out his plan for deficit and debt reduction.
National Journal
Sophie Novack
Add to Briefcase
Sophie Novack
Nov. 19, 2013, 12:48 p.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
Facebook To Cut Down On Govt-Sponsored Info Campaigns
1 minutes ago

Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."

Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
21 minutes ago

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. it should be included. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
4 hours ago

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

IN 2014
Pentagon Warned Flynn Not To Accept Foreign Payments
5 hours ago
One-Week Spending Bill On The Table
6 hours ago

Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.