WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama urged his supporters Monday to help Americans enroll for health insurance by mail, in person and over the phone.
Obama sought to tamp down expectations that the error-riddled HealthCare.gov website will ever be a panacea for the uninsured — even once it’s fixed.
Obama’s appeal for help in spreading the word came as the White House was actively considering more ways to let people sign up, including direct enrollment through insurance companies. Earlier Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said 1 in 5 Americans won’t ever be able to complete their enrollment through the website due to technical glitches, discomfort with using computers or complex personal tax situations.
“It turns out that purchasing insurance for a lot of folks is complicated,” Obama said. “We’ve made sure that we’ve got a strong plan to not just fix the website, which I’m taking responsibility for, but also to make sure there are other ways that people can sign up.”
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A self-imposed deadline to have the website running smoothly for the “vast majority” of Americans is looming Nov. 30. Concerned that problems that persist past the deadline will embolden critics to argue that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is an unfixable failure, the administration began Monday to try to pre-empt that argument.
“We always understood that we were going to have to enroll people” by mail, in person or on the phone, Obama said.