U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday HealthCare.gov will be running smoothly soon and questioned the sincerity of Republicans' "concern" over its failure.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president reminded listeners the deadline for mandatory healthcare coverage is months away and said early heavy traffic on the new website indicates how much demand there is for "quality, affordable healthcare choices."
He said consumers can also apply by telephone for coverage through the newly established insurance exchange -- called the Marketplace -- and assured people who are not yet covered that "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 said.
"Some people have poked fun at me this week for sounding like an insurance salesman," the president said. "And that's OK. I'd still be out there championing this law even if the website were perfect."
He said 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," Obama said. "But it's well past the time for folks to stop rooting for its failure.
"We did not fight so hard for this reform for so many years just to build a website," the president said. "We did it to free millions of American families from the awful fear that one illness or injury -- to yourself or your child -- might cost you everything you'd worked so hard to build. We did it to cement the principle that in this country, the security of healthcare is not a privilege for a fortunate few, but a right for every one of us to enjoy. We have already delivered on part of that promise, and we will not rest until the work is done."
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