WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said today that there is “no excuse” for the problems at the HealthCare.gov exchange enrollment system.
But Obama said he is confident that the administration can fix the problems.
“There’s no sugarcoating it,” Obama said. “Nobody is more frustrated than I am.”
The president said his administration is doing “everything we can possibly do” to get the enrollment sites for the federally run Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchanges running.
The administration is bringing in additional technology experts from inside and outside the government to work on the issues, Obama said.
Obama and other administration officials did not talk in detail about what the problems with the HealthCare.gov seem to be, how the problems may have occurred, why the problems were not fixed before the exchanges opened to the public Oct. 1, or what backup plans might be available.
Originally, the Congressional Budget Office projected that 7 million people could sign up for coverage through all state-run and federally run exchanges by the end of 2014.
The White House says about 500,000 people have now applied for exchange plans through federal and state exchange websites.
See our infographic: PPACA premiums, state-by-state
Administration officials initially blamed a high volume of interest for the frozen computer screens that many people encountered when they first logged on to the HealthCare.gov website. Since then, they have also acknowledged generally that there may be other problems with software and with some elements of the system’s design.
Under current program rules, consumers have until Dec. 15 to sign up for coverage that would take effect Jan. 1.
To get 2014 coverage on a fully guaranteed-issue basis, without having to wait for a special enrollment period or another open enrollment period, consumers must sign up by March 31.
To get 2014 coverage in time to avoid having to pay the new PPACA penalty to be imposed on some individuals who fail to own a minimum amount of health coverage, consumers may have to enroll by mid-February, some experts say.