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Obama administration confronts criticism of new health care law

Oct. 20, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By DAVID JACKSON   |   Comments
President Obama plans to discuss the challenges of the Affordable Care Act's rollout Monday at what the White House is billing as a 'health care event.'
President Obama plans to discuss the challenges of the Affordable Care Act's rollout Monday at what the White House is billing as a 'health care event.' (Saul Loeb / Getty Images)

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With the government re-opened and the debt ceiling dispute deferred, President Obama and his team now face another big story this month: The error-ridden rollout of the new health care law.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew went on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday to say that officials are working around the clock on Internet problems that are preventing people from signing up for new health care exchanges.

“I think that there’s no one more frustrated than the president at the difficulty in the website,” Lew said.

Obama himself plans to discuss the challenges Monday at what the White House is billing as a “health care event.”

USA Today reported that “the Federal Healthcare Exchange was built using 10-year-old technology that may require constant fixes and updates for the next six months and the eventual overhaul of the entire system.”

On “Meet The Press,” Lew said that “the huge outpouring of interest shows how important it is that we get this right. There are millions of Americans who want health insurance. It’s important for our economy for them to have health insurance.”

The “real test,” Lew said, comes in January, when officials learn “how many people are enrolled and what the quality of service that they’re getting.”

The Treasury Secretary said that, “if we get that right,” people will forget that “the early weeks were choppy on the website.”

In the meantime, congressional Republicans who opposed Obamacare are spotlighting its early problems.

The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sent out an e-mail Sunday featuring a June 7 quote from Obama: “I think it’s important for us to recognize and acknowledge this is working the way it’s supposed to.”

Jackson writes for USA Today.

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