Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama Says Gop Is 'Invested in Failure' of Health Care Law

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Obama Says Gop Is 'Invested in Failure' of Health Care Law

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Tuesday sought to redirect some of the political blame for the botched rollout of the federal health insurance exchange to Republicans, characterizing GOP lawmakers as rooting for the law's failure.

Addressing a gathering of business executives, Mr. Obama acknowledged that the health care launch "has been rough, to say the least," and he lamented the government's archaic information- technology procurement system.

Mr. Obama said fixes to the HealthCare.gov Web portal are underway, and that the exchange will function for a majority of people by the end of November. But the president said staunch opposition from congressional Republicans is inhibiting the law's implementation.

"One of the problems we've had is one side of Capitol Hill is invested in failure," Mr. Obama said at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council meeting in Washington. "We obviously are going to have to remarket and rebrand, and that will be challenging in this political environment."

The president also voiced frustration with the toxic political atmosphere endangering his signature legislative achievement. He said Washington needs to "break through the stubborn cycle of crisis politics and start working together."

"You know, people call me a socialist sometimes," Mr. Obama said. "But no, you've got to meet real socialists. You'll have a sense of what a socialist is."

Mr. Obama's comments came after the administration official who oversaw the technical development of the federal health insurance marketplace testified before Congress that 30 to 40 percent of the overall project has yet to be completed. Speaking before a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee, Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said the agency is still working on a number of "back office" aspects of the project, including a system to send payments to insurance companies. …

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