Nervous Senate Democrats Grill White House on Obamacare Failures

Image: Nervous Senate Democrats Grill White House on Obamacare Failures Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Friday, 01 Nov 2013 09:19 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Senate Democrats are becoming increasingly alarmed about the political consequences of the botched Obamacare roll-out, and are demanding reassurances from the White House that the obstacles with the website and other problems with the law can be overcome swiftly.

The lawmakers met with senior administration officials on Thursday to vent their frustrations over the dysfunctional Healthcare.gov website, and demanded assurances about when the issues would be resolved, Politico reports.

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts

"I didn't think there's confidence by anyone in the room. This is more of a show-me moment," Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley told Politico. "We were all confident that the system was going to be up and running by Oct. 1. And no, we're not confident until it's real."

White House staff present at the meeting — including White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Marilyn Tavenner, and White House chief performance officer Jeff Zients, who was brought in to manage the project to fix the site — reassured lawmakers that the online marketplaces would be fixed by the end of November.

Officials also said they would rectify the problems associated with policyholders losing their current coverage under the new system. The issue has become a major political headache for the president given his repeated assurances from the earliest days of floating the healthcare law that anyone who chose to keep their existing policy would be able to do so.

The meeting was seen as a sign that the White House is anxious to prevent Democrats from breaking ranks or pressing for delays of major portions of Obamacare, Politico reports. Democrats who are already vulnerable in the 2014 midterm elections are concerned about the impact of the Obamacare debacle on their re-election prospects.

One of them, Mark Begich of Alaska, said, “People are frustrated just like I am in trying to get on to the site."

Related:

White House Knew Millions Could Not Keep Health Plans
 
Only 6 People Enrolled in Obamacare on First Day





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