President Obama on Friday expressed frustration with the botched Obamacare insurance exchange website, saying he wished he could personally fix the technical glitches hobbling the rollout of his signature domestic achievement.
“I promise you that nobody’s been more frustrated,” Obama said during a speech at the Port of New Orleans. “I wanted to go in and fix it myself, but I don’t write code.”
Obama was in New Orleans to call for greater infrastructure spending and to urge Congress to pass a farm bill and immigration reform, measures he said would bolster economic growth and help the middle class. But Obama still touched on the controversy over the Obamacare rollout which has overshadowed the administration's efforts to pivot to other issues.
Obama has vowed to fix the website which is registering consumers in new insurance exchanges by December and administration officials have admitted that initial enrollment figures will be low.
Obama said that the administration is “working overtime to make sure it gets fixed.”
“We’re going to fix the website because the insurance plans are there. They are good," said the president.
Obama on Thursday also personally apologized to the American public for those who had been dropped by insurance plans in the wake of Obamacare. The president repeatedly promised that those who liked their health plans would be able to keep them under his health reform law, but millions of Americans are likely to be dropped from insurance plans that do not conform to Obamacare's new requirements.
The administration said Friday that they were weighing “fixes” to help those who lost their coverage and now face the prospect of paying higher premiums for alternate plans.
“I took up this cause knowing it was hard,” said Obama about health reform. But he defended the rest of the law and said efforts to help curb the health care cost curve were working.
“The work we’ve already done has resulted in health care costs rising at the lowest pace on record,” he said. “We want those trends to continue.”
Obama also urged more state governors to join the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. At the event, he was joined by Gov. Bobby Jindal, La., one of the Republican governors who have been reluctant to sign on. Republicans say that state’s will end up bearing the fiscal burden for new enrollees in Medicaid.
“We want to work with everybody,” Obama said about the Medicaid expansion. “The more states that are working together, the better off we are going to be.”