Healthcare.gov glitches at center of weekly addresses

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(CNN) — The chairman of the committee that heard hours of testimony this week over glitches in the healthcare.gov website put Obamacare on the chopping block in the GOP weekly address released Saturday.

“At a time when we can do everything from ordering a pizza, flowers or airline tickets, or banking and paying bills, they expect the same reliable service from healthcare.gov – and it’s still not ready for primetime,” Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan, said.

Contractors told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday that the government was to blame for the problem-plagued software that has barred many Americans from signing up for insurance plans through the online exchanges. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will testify before the committee on Wednesday.

The White House and administration officials say the enrollment problems are being fixed, with almost 700,000 applications submitted online on either the federal or state websites.

Expressing frustration over the technical issues, President Barack Obama defended the law in his weekly address, noting that the site has been visited more than 20 million times since its launch on October 1.

“I’d still be out there championing this law even if the website were perfect,” the president said.

“That’s why it’s also 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.”

Obama continued: “We did not fight so hard for this reform for so many years just to build a website.”

But Upton insists the broken website is only the beginning of the issues with the law. “How can the administration punish innocent Americans by forcing them to buy a product many cannot afford, from a system that does not work?”

Delays and incorrect information relayed to insurance companies has sparked intense criticism from Republicans over the Affordable Care Act’s implementation. House Republicans earlier this month tried without success to tie defunding or delaying the law to legislation funding the government.