Obama Asks Americans To Give Exchanges And Obamacare Time To Work

President Barack Obama defended the problem-plagued rollout of the health law's insurance exchanges late last week. In an interview with The Associated Press, he asked Americans to not give up on changes the law is making and to give it time to work. Later, Obama said he didn't know how many people had signed up for coverage through the exchanges and reiterated his unwillingness to repeal parts of the law to get Republicans to help reopen the federal government.

The Associated Press/NBC: Obama Tells Americans Not To 'Give Up' On Problem-Plagued Health Care Program 
Defending the shaky rollout of his health care law, President Barack Obama said frustrated Americans "definitely shouldn't give up" on the problem-plagued program now at the heart of his dispute with Republicans over reopening the federal government. Obama said public interest far exceeded the government's expectations, causing technology glitches that thwarted millions of Americans when trying to use government-run health care websites. "Folks are working around the clock and have been systematically reducing the wait times," he said. The federal gateway website was taken down for repairs over the weekend, again hindering people from signing up for insurance (Pace, 10/4).

Fox News: President Repeats Willingness To Negotiate Obamacare Changes
President Obama is saying he's willing to negotiate changes to his signature health care law, Obamacare, but won't until Congress resolves its budget issues -- reaching a spending deal to reopen the government and raising the debt ceiling. Obama has said before that he’s open to improving the law and would negotiate on anything when it comes to a bigger deal, or a so-called "grand bargain." However, his remarks, as part of a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press, come amid increasing pressure to make changes to ObamaCare (10/5).

Politico: Obama Doesn't Know Number Of People Who've Gotten Insurance Through Exchanges 
There's been skepticism from Republicans and the press about whether the White House really doesn't know how many people have enrolled this week. Obama said that early interest in the exchanges far exceeded the government's expectations for the first few days, but "folks are working around the clock and have been systematically reducing the wait times." HealthCare.gov is down for the weekend to give the administration uninterrupted time to improve the site. Ultimately, Obama said, the outlook for the exchanges is good. By the time signups end in March, "we are going to probably exceed what anybody expected in terms of the amount of interest that people had (Epstein, 10/5).

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