Maggie: The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has survived a Supreme Court appeal and a government shutdown. But now it seems its biggest problem could be technical difficulties. Shelby Holliday explains.
President Obama: I think it’s fair to say that nobody is more frustrated by that than I am.
Shelby: President Obama addressed problems with the rollout of his signature healthcare law known as Obamacare at a White House event yesterday.
Obama: There’s no sugar coating it. The website has been too slow, people have been getting stuck during the application process…
Shelby: The president’s frustration was centered around technical errors on healthcare.gov. The website was set up under the Affordable Care Act, which requires all Americans to have health insurance by January 1st or pay a penalty. It is supposed to allow users to be able to browse and buy insurance plans online. But in the three weeks it has been public, visitors have experienced unexplained errors, slow loading times, and trouble creating accounts.
Have you logged onto healthcare.gov?
Rahiym Noble: Yes, I did.
Shelby: Rahiym Noble experienced the website glitches firsthand.
Rahiym: Well, when I logged in it was very confusing because they ask you a lot of questions, so I had a lot of problems. So, I had to call the people up.
Shelby: Once you got your login, then what did you do?
Rahiym: Truthfully, I got off the internet.
Shelby: You didn’t sign up?
Shelby: The website errors have kept some people from buying insurance and others from even trying.
Ana Perez: Yeah, I’m just waiting it out for right now.
Shelby: For the healthcare law to work, the government is relying on 7 million Americans to buy insurance through online exchanges. But so far, only about half-a-million have applied for coverage online. And of those half-a-million, the White House is refusing to say how many have actually purchased insurance plans, leaving many to assume the numbers are embarrassingly low.
The botched rollout has drawn criticism from Republicans who oppose the Affordable Care Act.
Senator John McCain: Look, it’s been a fiasco. Send Air Force One out to Silicon Valley, load it up with some smart people, bring them back to Washington and fix this problem.
Obama: Nobody’s madder than me about the fact that the website isn’t working as well as it should, which means it’s going to get fixed.
Shelby: The president says he is doing everything he can to get the website running smoothly. But the big question is will it be too late?
Because the website wasn’t working very well, will you go back?
Rahiym: I don’t think I will.
Shelby: You are over it.
Rahiym: Yeah, I’m over it.
Jen Liberati: I mean, personally, I would try again. But I think a lot of people give up easily and get frustrated, so, no.
Shelby: Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.
Maggie: December 15th is the deadline to enroll for coverage that begins January 1st. And open enrollment will last through March.