Obama Says He's 'Frustrated' About Health Care Site Issues

At the White House on Monday, President Obama acknowledged widespread problems with his health care law's website while still defending the Affordable Care Act. NPR White House Correspondent Scott Horsley talks with Steve Inskeep about the president's remarks.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with an acknowledgement of trouble by President Obama.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: OK, the president is speaking right now to reporters and others in the White House Rose Garden. Our White House correspondent Scott Horsley has been listening in. He's in our studios. Hi, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK, the president's talking about Obamacare. What's he saying?

HORSLEY: Well, this is really the first big acknowledgement by the president that the problems with the website, healthcare.gov, that people are using to access the new insurance marketplaces are more than the glitches. He'd said all along there would be glitches. It's now become clear that the problems are more deep-seeded than that.

The president said there's no sugar coating that, and that he's as frustrated as anybody else. He also said the government is working to fix those problems. They're bringing in some top IT talent from the private sector to help out. He also says some of those private sector folks anticipated this kind of problem with a big undertaking like this.

INSKEEP: They might have anticipated it but they weren't ready for it...

(LAUGHTER)

INSKEEP: ..but it's going to be a problem here, isn't it, to get it fixed on the fly?

HORSLEY: Absolutely. You're trying to fix the airplane while flying the airplane, as the saying goes. But the president also stressed that what he calls the underlying product, the insurance that's available through these marketplaces is still good, even if it's tough to get access to it. And he stressed that the Affordable Care Act is more than just this website and that there are ways for people to access that insurance offline, either by the telephone or in person.

INSKEEP: OK, Scott, thanks very much.

HORSLEY: My pleasure.

INSKEEP: We'll be hearing more about this. NPR's Scott Horsley.

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