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Obama: Obamacare 'much more' than website

7:51 PM, Oct 21, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Barack Obama publicly acknowledged on Monday that the new health care law's website "hasn't worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work" but continued to promote the Obamacare law despite the technological glitches that have plagued its rollout.

"The Affordable Care Act is not just a website," he said. "It's much more."

Joined at the White House by Obamacare applicants and beneficiaries, Obama said the plans available through the health care exchanges - despite the issues with online enrollment - are helping consumers.

"That product is working. It's really good. And it turns out there's a massive demand for it," he said.

Saying that there's "no sugarcoating" the website's problems, Obama pledged quick improvements to the beleaguered HealthCare.Gov site.

"There's no excuse for the problems, and these problems are getting fixed," he said.

He also encouraged those who want to apply for the program to do so "the old fashioned way" -- by phone or in person -- as work on the website continues.

Problems with the online health care site have plagued the administration since the website's rollout on October 1. The Department of Health and Human Services said Sunday that it plans to enlist "the best and the brightest from both inside and outside government" to help fix the online issues, but it's unclear how long the digital repairs will take.

Over the weekend, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on NBC's Meet the Press that the president is "frustrated" with the rocky rollout and that HHS plans to fix the "unacceptable" problems as soon as possible.

Senior administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through the Obamacare website so far.

By Carrie Dann, NBC News

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