PRESIDENT OBAMA: Administration "fumbled the rollout" of health care law
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says his administration "fumbled the rollout" of his signature health care law.
Obama is taking responsibility for problems with the launch of the program. He says, "That's on me."
Obama says it's legitimate for Americans to expect him to have to win back some credibility on the health care law and in general.
The president acknowledges his assertion that Americans who like their health plan could keep it, in his words, "ended up not being accurate." He says that wasn't his intention.
Obama says he wasn't informed directly that the Healthcare.gov website wouldn't be working, and wouldn't have rolled it out if he did. He says he wouldn't have been "stupid enough" to say it was going to be like shopping on Amazon had he known.
The president also announced that health insurance companies can continue to sell policies canceled under his health care law for at least one more year to existing customers.
Obama is trying to head off a political furor created by a wave of cancellation notices hitting people who buy their coverage individually, as well as some small businesses. Their current plans don't meet requirements of the new health care law.
White House officials say a letter going out to state insurance commissioners will specify that current plans sold to existing customers will not be considered out of compliance with the health care law in 2014.
While the administration is granting new flexibility, it remains to be seen if state regulators and insurance companies will exercise the option.
The president noted that the first-month enrollment numbers in health care plans under his law are lagging and he isn't happy about it. He said that "we fumbled the roll-out" of the program. And he vowed to build a better health care system for every American and "get it right."
The administrative changes are good for just one year, though senior administration officials said they could be extended if problems with the law persist.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.