Obama vows to fix healthcare site, focus on product and not problems

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As developers scramble to fix problems with healthcare.gov, the federal website for healthcare insurance exchanges, President Obama vowed to improve the website. He also said the product was good, even if the delivery system was flawed.

"I just want to remind everybody, we did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a website," Obama said Oct. 21, flanked by people who successfully got health insurance through the site.

The website serves residents of 36 states whose governments declined to build their own healthcare exchanges to comply with the Affordable Care Act.

But Obama did concede that the website didn't work the way it was supposed to. The website has received more than 20 million unique visits so far. But problems such as difficulty logging in, error messages and slow page loads persist.

"The problem has been that the website that's supposed to make it easy to apply for and purchase the insurance is not working the way it should for everybody," he said. "And there's no sugarcoating it."

The website has been too slow, people have been getting stuck during the application process, Obama said. 

"Because the product is good, I want the cash registers to work," he said. "And there's no excuse for the problems, and these problems are getting fixed."

The Health and Human Services Department said it has called in additional help to address some complex issues with the site.

"We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of healthcare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site," HHS said.

But almost half of Americans polled said the website was not working the way they wanted it to, an Oct. 21 Pew poll says.

About 46 percent of Americans said the website was not working well at all, the poll says. And only 29 percent said the website was working fairly well, the poll says.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center, was conducted Oct. 9-13 among 1,504 adults, with a sample error of 2.9 percent.

For more:
- go to Obama's speech
- go to the Pew poll

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