WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (UPI) —
President Obama said he regrets the frustration the Affordable Care Act rollout caused American people and rues any problems it could create for supporters.
"There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they’re running or not, because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin," Obama said Thursday during his announcement that his administration would allow insurers to offer consumers the option to renew their 2013 health plans in 2014.
"I feel deeply responsible for making it harder for them, rather than easier for them, to continue to promote the core values that I think led them to support this thing in the first place, which is, in this country, as wealthy as we are, everybody should be able to have the security of affordable healthcare," he said. "And that’s why I feel so strongly about fixing it."
He said his "first and foremost" obligation was to the American people to ensure they can get the best health plan they can afford and have a website that can help them comparison shop and take advantage of tax credits.
The administration has been slammed over the botched rollout of healthcare.gov, the federal health insurance marketplace, and for cancellation notices sent by insurance companies despite Obama’s of-repeated pledge, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."
"You know, when we don’t do a good job on the rollout, we’re letting them down," Obama said Thursday. "I don’t like doing that. So my commitment to them is, we’re going to just keep on doing better every day until we get it done."
He repeated his apology to the American people for all the problems with the rollout, saying he recognized he had to re-earn their trust.
"I’m just going to keep on working as hard as I can around the priorities that I think the American people care about," Obama said. "And I think it’s legitimate for them to expect me to have to win back some credibility on this healthcare law in particular and on a whole range of these issues in general."
Obama said the flaws in the rollout shouldn’t spill over into other initiatives, such as comprehensive immigration reform.
"If it comes to immigration reform, you know, there is no reason for us not to do immigration reform," he said, noting the bipartisan bill that passed the Senate had the backing of clergy, business and other organizations.
"If people are looking for an excuse not to do the right thing on immigration reform, they can always find an excuse: ‘We’ve run out of time; this is hard, ‘… the list goes on and on," Obama said. "But my working assumption is people should want to do the right thing."