Amid widespread acknowledgementabout the failure of a key aspect of Obamacare, NBC News’ Chuck Todd pressed White House spokesman Jay Carney on one question Monday: Who told the president the program was ready?
President Barack Obama had promised the new online exchanges through which people can purchase health insurance would be functional – a claim that has so far proven far from accurate.
“Five days before the launch, the president said it’s a website where you can compare and purchase affordable health care plans, the same way you shop for a plane ticket on Kayak. Who misled him?” Todd asked. “Who misled the president on this? Are you telling me … somebody let the president go out to the American public to give this speech and say this and make this promise? In fact, the next line is: ‘I promise you, this is a lot easier, it’s like booking a hotel or plane ticket.’ Who let him down?”
“The president’s frustrated,” Carney replied. “(W)e’re focused on making improvements so that the millions of Americans who want affordable health insurance are getting the best.”
Todd asked again whether Obama was “let down.”
“Again, what I’ll tell you as I mentioned earlier, I think, is that there’s no question that the volumes exceeded substantially expectations and that the testing that was done was based on –” Carney began.
“Adding a server would have fixed it in a heartbeat. That isn’t the issue, right?” Todd interjected.
“I’m pretty confident you’re not a –” Carney said.
“I am not a computer science guy,” Todd said.
“– you haven’t written code in your day,” Carney completed.
“I understand that but if this were simply a traffic issue, that’s fixable fast, isn’t it?” Todd pressed.
Carney restated the White House’s position that the failures are in some part due to a supposedly high volume of people trying to enroll in the exchanges.
Carney was also asked whether the law’s individual mandate would be delayed if people are unable to register for a plan.
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked if people would still be subject to a penalty for not having health care if they can’t access the site to buy it online.
Carney said that in some cases, those who don’t have access to health insurance may not be subject to fines, but he did not directly address it in terms of the website glitches.
“The law itself as written, makes clear who have access to affordable insurance will need to have insurance by March 31,” Carney said. “Now the people who do not have access to affordable care, due to example to a state not expanding Medicaid, and there are states out there who are depriving their own citizens to access to expanded Medicaid or due to other factors” will not face the same penalties.
Carney was also asked if there is a firm timeline in mind to have the system glitches worked out.
“(Obama’s) deadline, his insistence is that every minute of every hour of every day going forward, this problem has to be addressed,” Carney said.
TheBlaze’s Fred Lucas contributed to this report.
(H/T: Washington Free Beacon)
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter