President Barack Obama declined to take responsibility for his crippled Obamacare website on Wednesday — but he announced that he would take responsibility for fixing it.
“The website is too slow, too many people have gotten stuck, and I’m not happy about it,” he told supporters in Faneuil Hall, Boston. “I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP.”
Media reports say Obama and his deputies in the White House didn’t create an effective management structure to guide development of the critical website.
Policymakers, regulators and software developers worked in different sites. Numerous companies developed software that was supposed to be integrated by inexperienced managers at the Department of Health and Human Services. The project fell behind schedule, and it was not fully tested before opening day Oct. 1.
The system immediately froze, effectively blocking people from using the site to buy government-regulated benefit plans offered by healthcare companies.
The failure was a surprise to top officials, including Obama, who were not aware how badly the program was managed.
Obama’s deputies, including HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, have tried to blame companies and contractors for the debacle, which is made worse by regulations that are forcing companies to cancel millions of existing insurance policies bought by individuals.
Obama tacitly admitted the management failure when he appointed a single manager for the uncoordinated effort. The official, a private consultant who once worked briefly for Bain & Company management and consultant firm, Jeffery Zients, has promised to have the website working by Nov. 30.