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Obama embarks on Affordable Care Act tour

Herb Boyd | 12/5/2013, 1:59 p.m.
President Obama

Renewing his effort to give the Affordable Care Act a fresh gloss, President Barack Obama embarked Tuesday on a campaign to assure Americans that his health plan is alive and well.

To get his reinvigorated health coverage plan in gear, Obama will once again surround himself with folks who have to date benefited from the act as he delivers his message of hope against the backdrop of his declining popularity and approval rating.

“Do not let the initial problems with the website discourage you, because it’s working better now,” Obama announced to his supporters. “And it’s going to keep on working better over time.”

The initiative has twin purposes: to stave off the mounting attack from the GOP and to regain the confidence of consumers who have been frustrated by the federal website healthcare.gov or by the state insurance exchanges—many of them in states where Republican governors have refused to increase Medicaid, thereby forfeiting federal subsidies to help those who can’t afford the premiums.

Healthcare.gov met our self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline, and even as we continue to make improvements to the website, we’ll also remind the public about how the Affordable Care Act is already making a positive difference in the lives of millions of Americans today,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest in a press statement.

According to the latest report, the website is up and running and should be able to amass the desired 800,000 new registrants in a matter of days. (About 750,000 had visited the site by last Monday night.) Even so, there are still some glitches apparently experienced by some applicants who say they are not given all the information they need about the cost of the insurance, among other questions.

The Obama administration admitted that the website is still not functioning anywhere near perfection. It may take another few weeks before the site is up and running at full capacity, which will possibly allow the surge needed to meet the late December deadline.

Looming over the systemic debacle is next year’s midterm elections, and it will come as no surprise the extent to which the rollout problems of Obamacare will be utilized by the Republicans in all the important races for the House and Senate.

The Republicans are sure to harp on the inefficiency of the website as well as the waste of taxpayer money and federal workers’ time.

“We do know that things are not perfect with the site,” said Julie Bataille, communications director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But she promised “to continue to make improvements and upgrades.”