Nightly News   |  November 17, 2013

Are Democrats splitting over Obamacare rollout?

A troubled debut for the Affordable Health Care website may be causing a rift in the Democratic Party. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> the obama administration begins this week still very much on the defensive about the new health care law , trying to finally get the rollout on track and trying to make sure democrats stay with the party line . our report tonight from white house correspondent kristen welker.

>> you guys are worthless.

>> reporter: one month ago it was the republican party on life support , blamed for the government shutdown.

>> the american people overwhelmingly reject obama care.

>> reporter: but now the democrats are fractured and playing defense in the wake of the rocky health care rollout.

>> they can fix this, it is a textible problem.

>> reporter: republicans are piling on.

>> the president said that he fumbled the rollout. it's time for a time-out.

>> reporter: this morning democratic party leaders tried to strike a united front .

>> democrats stand tall in support of affordable care act .

>> reporter: and they downplayed the 39 house democrats many facing tough re-elections who broke with the president friday to approve a republican bill restoring canceled policies indefinitely.

>> about 30 of them and i've talked to them were insulating themselves against sound bites , and that's part of the problem.

>> reporter: today "the washington post " reports the administration will consider the marketplace a success if 80% of users can buy health care plans online, meaning tens of thousands won't be able to do so. administration officials wouldn't confirm that figure, but the house democratic leader said she's anticipating an 80% success rate on the website.

>> they're anticipating that 80% by december 1 as we go forward.

>> reporter: still with all the problems plaguing obama care the administration has become fodder for "saturday night live."

>> the enrollment period isn't a disaster.

>> and it's beginning to affect your work. ask your doctor for paxil, second term strength.

>> reporter: not a laughing matter to those inside the white house , who know the president's legacy is riding on his health care plan. analysts say there's still time to recover.

>> in the end, in barack obama 's case, probably the best thing he can do about all of this is to make sure that his health care program succeeds.

>> reporter: now this week insurance companies and state commissioners will be scrambling to figure out how and if they'll adhere to the president's fix, which allows insurance companies to restore canceled policies for one year. meanwhile president obama will try to rally his core supporters during a conference call tomorrow night.