Democrats at both the national and local levels voiced a full-throated endorsement of the Obamacare web site Sunday, one day after the administration’s self-imposed deadline to improve the broken site.
Speaking on Sunday talks shows, Democrats – some of whom appeared to be wavering in their support for the troubled health care law last month – said that the fixes made to the site were a positive step. They also said that they believed the Obama administration would meet their enrollment goal of 7 million by the end of March.
On Meet the Press, in response to a question that implied 2013 was a "lost year" for President Obama, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, "I think that's a bit of an overstatement, 'The lost year?' Focusing on trying to get more people affordable quality health care? In Baltimore, over 80,000 people are without health care." Rawlings-Blake said. "At the end of the day, everyone knows, we can all agree, the rollout could have been, should have been, better. But underneath all of that is Democrats and the president trying to make sure the people have health care."
Former Obama senior adviser David Plouffe said the web site would work well when states run their own exchanges. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean also defended healtcare.gov, saying on CNN's State of the Union, "This Web site is now apparently functional. I haven't tried the Web site, but if this program works -- and I think it will -- three months from now a huge number of people who didn't have health insurance are going to have it, and mostly at a better price.
"This is the equivalent of having a great item that you want to buy in the store but not being able to get though the front door,” Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) added on CBS's Face The Nation. "It sounds like the front door has been opened successfully now."
The broad defense of the Obamacare site comes a day after the administration’s deadline to provide a workable service for the “vast majority of users.” The White House said that it met its goal of allowing 50,000 users to visit the site at the same time and of allowing 800,000 to visit the site each day.
However, while the web site has improved, it’s still not functioning perfectly. Since the re-launch yesterday, some consumers who have tried to purchase insurance have run into new hurdles.
Republicans seized on these problems, saying that the disastrous rollout combined with ongoing tech issues doomed Obamacare to failure.
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the first impression here was terrible," Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said on ABCs' This Week with George Stephanopoulos. "And I think it's going to be an unfolding disaster for the president. There's going to be some winners, there's no question about that. But there's going to be millions of losers, too."
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