Nightly News   |  October 26, 2013

White House ramps up damage control on ACA rollout

The White House is fighting mounting criticism of its healthcare website. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>> we turn now to the other big issue facing the administration this weekend. the challenge of fixing the government's health care website. some may still feel squeezed by the system. kristen welker has more on this for us tonight.

>> reporter: good evening. the obama administration is heading into yet another week of damage control. one of the president's biggest b problems -- pushback from his own party. the white house is engaged in a full court press to tamp down mounting criticism of the health care website.

>> we've got people working overtime 24/7 to boost capacity and address these problems.

>> reporter: in the coming weeks, cabinet officials will travel to the ten cities with the highest rates of uninsured. health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius was in texas and arizona this week trying to calm concerns.

>> my job is to get this up and running the way it should have been running on day one.

>> reporter: the rocky rollout has been a boost to tea party republicans like senator ted cruz , determined to derail obama care. in iowa cruz went pheasant hunting and later took aim at health care .gov.

>> who are the people getting hammered by the obama economy? it's the most vulnerable among us.

>> reporter: ten democratic senators, many up for re-election, now say the enrollment deadline should be delayed. on friday jeffrey zeinst who was put in charge of fixing the site for the first time gave a date for when the problems will be resolved.

>> by the end of november health care .gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.

>> reporter: that could create a crunch for hundreds of thousands whose coverage are will end and who received letters warning, you will no longer be eligible for your current plan of coverage. that's happening because those plans don't meet the new federal standards.

>> a lot of inadequate health insurance plans that don't cover maternity care or have a very low dollar limit on them are inadequate.

>> reporter: the obama administration has been encouraging people to sign up over the phone and in person. even that's been difficult say folks at that time clinic in. you haven't been able to enroll a single person yet?

>> we have gotten close. we seem to get close to the end of completing an application. then you get a couple of error messages.

>> reporter: in its latest blog hhs says nearly 700,000 americans have completed applications through the marketplaces. the administration has not yet released the exact enrollment figures. officials were hoping the to have b about 7 million people signed up by april. secretary sebelius will testify by a congressional committee this week. lester?

>> all right, kristen. thank you.