President Obama answered a question this morning about the failed Obamacare website by bouncing past the press toward church.
The president last went to church on Easter; he tends to confine his churchgoing to holidays.
“Good morning, everyone,” Obama said to the White House press pool as he left to walk through Lafayette Park to attend services at St. John’s Episcopal Church with Michelle Obama and their daughters.
According to the White House pool report, the president was asked whether Nov. 30 was a realistic deadline for the Obamacare online exchange fixes. “C’mon guys, I’m going to church,” he replied.
He sat many pews ahead of the press. The pool saw Obama go toward the altar to accept communion, but couldn’t see or hear much.
After church, the presidential motorcade promptly headed toward Fort Belvoir for some golf. He spent four hours on the green with White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, Walter Nicholson, and Obama curtain holder Joe Paulsen.
In his weekly address on Saturday, Obama made yet another pitch for his healthcare initiative, saying “ultimately, the easiest way to buy insurance in this Marketplace will be a new website, HealthCare.gov.”
“But as you may have heard, the site isn’t working the way it’s supposed to yet. That’s frustrating for all of us who have worked so hard to make sure everyone who needs it gets health care. And it’s especially frustrating for the Americans who’ve been trying to get covered. The site has been visited more than 20 million times so far. Nearly 700,000 people have applied for coverage already. That proves just how much demand there is for these new quality, affordable health care choices. And that’s why, in the coming weeks, we are going to get it working as smoothly as it’s supposed to. We’ve got people working overtime, 24/7, to boost capacity and address these problems, every single day,” Obama said.
He said the website had been updated to include more information about applying by phone, mail or through a navigator.
“Don’t worry – these plans will not sell out. We’re only a few weeks into a six-month open enrollment period, and everyone who wants insurance through the Marketplace will get it,” Obama continued. “Some people have poked fun at me this week for sounding like an insurance salesman. And that’s okay. I’d still be out there championing this law even if the website were perfect.”
The president added it was “interesting to see Republicans in Congress expressing so much concern that people are having trouble buying health insurance through the new website – especially considering they’ve spent the last few years so obsessed with denying those same people access to health insurance that they just shut down the government and threatened default over it.”
“As I’ve said many times before, I’m willing to work with anyone, on any idea, who’s actually willing to make this law perform better. But it’s well past the time for folks to stop rooting for its failure.”