October 21, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The government shutdown may be over, but that isn’t stopping Republicans from continuing to pounce on the Affordable Care Act, the main sticking point that led to the 16-day shutdown.
“I think it’s just been an awful experience for folks trying to get on that site,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA).
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) agrees.
“It’s been a fiasco. Send Air Force One out to Silicon Valley, load it up with smart people, bring it back to Washington, and fix this problem,” he said.
Both are referring to healthcare.gov, the Web site that launched October 1st, where people can browse and purchase health insurance plans.
Even House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi admitted there are problems.
“What has happened is unacceptable in terms of the glitches,” Pelosi said. “They were overwhelmed to begin with. There’s much that needs to be done to correct the situation.”
Today, surrounded by consumers, small business owners, and pharmacists, President Obama addressed the issue.
“There’s no sugarcoating it,” Obama said. The Web site has been too slow, people have been getting stuck during the application process.”
The president said despite the problems, thousands of people have successfully signed up. He also pointed out that the plan is only three weeks into a six-month enrollment period.
“The product is good. The health insurance that’s being provided is good. It’s high quality and it’s affordable,” Obama said.
Though the president has promised the glitches will be fixed, it likely will not stop the GOP from continuing their anti-Obamacare crusade.
“There’s no doubt that in the short term, Ted Cruz had led a movement in the Senate in Congress that has damaged the Republican party, and frankly, will be strengthening the Democrats in terms of recruitment and fundraising over the next few months,” said Stu Rothenberg, of Rothenberg Political Report.
Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist, agrees.
“I don’t think donors have made up their minds just yet, but clearly they’re not going to bring out their checkbooks to help the Republican Party, if they keep engaging in failure,” he said.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to testify about the Web site glitches later this week.
Sebelius can’t make it, citing the short-term scheduling of the hearing, infuriating Republicans even more.