President Obama in an extensive press conference on Tuesday addressed an array of issues, but was not asked about the rollout of his signature domestic achievement, Obamacare.
Obama fielded questions on a range of topics during the hour-plus event, including the government shutdown, the debt ceiling, U.S. anti-terror raids in Africa, his cancelled Asian tour and his personal relationship with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Conspicuously absent, however, was any mention of the glitch-filled rollout of Obamacare.
“We were expecting it,” one White House official told the Washington Examiner. “You’d have to talk to your colleagues about that.”
The White House press corps did not bring up Obamacare during the high-profile press conference, instead focusing primarily on the fiscal fight between the White House and congressional Republicans.
The launch of open enrollment in Obamacare earlier this month has been plagued by a series of mishaps, yet the president wasn’t forced to address the issue at all. The only time the president mentioned health coverage was to hammer Republicans for attempting to dismantle Obamacare.
White House officials have said the mishaps were caused by an unexpected high volume of online traffic. They recently conceded, though, that the software for the online exchanges was not ready for the launch of the health program.
Adding to criticism of the rollout, the administration can’t say how many people have signed up for Obamacare since the health exchanges launched on Oct. 1.
Such data aren’t expected to be released until next month at the earliest, the Department of Health and Human Services has said.
The technical snags have overshadowed the White House’s narrative: that for the first time, millions of Americans will have access to affordable health insurance.
Others, though, argue that the government shutdown has distracted the public’s attention from the Obamacare missteps.