Obama says 'nowhere to go but up' after HealthCare.gov debacle

WASHINGTON Fri Nov 29, 2013 5:08pm EST

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar/Files

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's popularity has taken a beating over the botched October 1 launch of Obamacare, but in a television interview set to air on Friday, Obama said he believes Americans eventually will appreciate his signature healthcare reform.

Reflecting on his poll numbers in an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters, Obama said: "I've gone up and down pretty much consistently throughout.

"But the good thing about when you're down is that usually you got nowhere to go but up," Obama added, according to excerpts released by ABC.

The interview was taped last week as the Obama administration scrambled to meet a self-imposed November 30 deadline to overhaul HealthCare.gov, the website used in 36 states to shop for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

Americans trying to use the website have been stymied by errors and slow speeds. The problems meant only 27,000 people were able to use the website to sign up during the first month, and there is now a backlog of Americans to get through the system by a December 23 deadline.

"I continue to believe and (I'm) absolutely convinced that, at the end of the day, people are going to look back at the work we've done to make sure that in this country, you don't go bankrupt when you get sick, that families have that security," Obama told ABC. "That is going be a legacy I am extraordinarily proud of."

Obama officials have said the website should work better for most people by Saturday, although they have warned it will not be perfect.

Before the launch, Obama had assured Americans the website would be as easy to use as Amazon or Kayak, and also promised that people could keep existing insurance plans if they so chose.

But he found himself having to apologize to Americans after falling short on both promises. In the interview Obama said he wants to find out why he was caught by surprise.

"Obviously my most recent concern has been that my website's not working ... and we're evaluating why it is exactly that I didn't know soon enough that (it) wasn't going to work the way it needed to," Obama said. "But my priority now has been to just make sure that it works."

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton. Editing by Andre Grenon)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (55)
flashrooster wrote:
What a shame that Republicans put so much effort into preventing Americans from reforming their broken healthcare system. They couldn’t get away with it if conservative voters weren’t so easily led. Whatever helps corporations retain and increase their hold on our government, that’s what the Republican voters will adopt as their Gospel. The reason there’s been so much resistance to the ACA is because the corporate kings don’t want change. Why would they want change when they’re making money hand over fist? They see Obama and his healthcare reform as a threat to the maximization of their profits. Any reform will be faced with the same resistance, and the docile Republican voters will be convinced that change is bad, regardless of how screwed up things are. You see this in our healthcare system; you see it in our banking/mortgage/investment industries; you see it in the oil industry, with all their tax breaks and the resistance to developing new forms of energy and the belief that there’s no global warming. You see it with our tax policies. It’s time for the American public to take back our government. If conservatives aren’t going to think for themselves, they need to just get out of the way. We’re the only developed country that doesn’t have some form of universal healthcare. That must change.

Nov 29, 2013 1:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
notfooled2 wrote:
B0 is right, when you are flat on your back, you are looking up. One thing for sure, the Demos own B0care, they wrote it, didn’t read it, passed it with a partisan vote and Bo signed it. The website is the best part of B0care, just wait until people have to start paying for it and start using it.

Nov 29, 2013 2:26pm EST  --  Report as abuse
When he says “nowhere to go but up”… he’s referring to the insurance premiums.

Nov 29, 2013 2:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.