President Barack Obama said Tuesday that his administration “underestimated” the difficulty of launching the troubled HealthCare.gov web site but that political partisanship is also to blame for the law’s poor rollout.
“I think that we probably underestimated the complexities of building out a website that needed to work the way it should,” Obama said during an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib as part of its “CEO Summit.”
Saying that the GOP has been “invested in failure” of the Affordable Care Act, the president said that he also should have foreseen that the law’s implementation would be “rockier” due to the partisan nature of the bill’s passage.
“We should have anticipated that would create a rockier rollout than if Democrats and Republicans were both invested in success,” he said. “One of the problems that we’ve had is that one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure and that makes the kind of iterative process of fixing glitches as they come up and fine tuning the law more challenging.”
The president continued to defend his signature legislation, saying that the underlying model of the health care law “is one that will succeed.”
But, he added, his administration will have to repair issues with the ACA web portal and regain public confidence in the law.
“We are going to have to obviously remarket and rebrand,” he said. “And that will be challenging in this political environment.”
While he defended the health care rollout, Obama struck an optimistic note on issues like immigration and tax reform, saying that Republicans and Democrats are “fighting inside the 40-yard lines” ideologically and that there is much room for bipartisan agreement.
“People call me a socialist sometimes,” Obama joked. “You’ve got to meet real socialists.”
First published November 19 2013, 1:24 PM