Since its debut on October 1, the healthcare.gov website has been laden with glitches and the site was not even capable of its most essential and basic function – allowing access to millions of Americans to purchase health insurance through newly created marketplaces.
After scores of well-deserved criticism from both political parties over the failed Oct. 1 launch of healthcare.gov website and a broken promise on Americans getting to keep their current health insurance plans spotlighted by President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama took to an offensive position on his signature legislation on Tuesday after being on the defensive for 2 months.
Mr. Obama touted the improvements to HealthCare.gov, which was able to handle 1 million visitors Monday without major problems, but also seemed keen on keeping expectations lowered.
“Today, the website is working well for the vast majority of users,” said Obama, accompanied on stage by his supporters. “More problems may pop up, as they always do when you're launching something new, and when they do we'll fix those too."
But It’s not just the Affordable Care Act a.k.a. Obamacare that is in jeopardy if the relaunch of the healthcare.gov website is not a success – the president’s credibility and entire second term agenda seems to hang in the balance with the gridlock in Washington and this law seen as the toxic centerpiece. Mr. Obama’s approval is barely at 40% and it seemed to tank rapidly after the first failed healthcare.gov roll-out.
Even if the healthcare.gov website is working 100% of the time for 100% of Americans – how does the Affordable Care Act overcome another looming challenge?
A Gallup poll released on Monday shows that Americans aged 18 to 29 are the least familiar with the new law. Less than two-thirds of young adults even know about it.
Another Gallup poll, released Tuesday, found that 28 percent of uninsured Americans plan to pay the government fine rather than enroll in coverage. If enough Americans decline to enroll – particularly among the young and healthy – that will create an imbalance in the risk pool causing insurance premiums to go even higher.
But in his Obamacare 2.0 address on Wednesday, the president made clear he will spend the rest of his presidency ensuring the law cements. The White House announced it plans to spend the next 3 weeks on the stump in a pre-2014 campaign-style fashion focusing on a vast array of domestic issues.
“The president will discuss the steps he has taken to help reverse these trends, restore mobility, and increase economic security for every American, including the economic benefits of the Affordable Care Act,” a White House official said in a statement. “He will also offer a robust argument for further steps, like raising the minimum wage, that we should take as a nation in the near future.”