President Obama: 'No excuse' for Obamacare website problems
Following widespread tech glitches that have plagued the Obamacare rollout, President Barack Obama said Monday that there is "no excuse" for the website problems but stressed that the insurance marketplace is working.
Obama said the site "isn't working the way it should be" as he spoke with consumers, small business owners and pharmacists who have been affected by the new law in the White House Rose Garden on Monday.
"There's no sugarcoating it," he said. "The website has been too slow. People have been stuck during the application process."
(Read more: Should Sebelius be fired?)
The move is the highest-profile step in a broad damage control effort that the administration has launched since technical problems with the website, healthcare.gov, have prevented Americans nationwide from signing up for Obamacare, which launched Oct. 1.
On Sunday, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a blog post it was bringing in a "tech surge" of people from inside and outside government to help iron out glitches in the online insurance exchanges that are a central part of Obamacare.
The post noted that more than 20 million unique visitors to date have visited the site. So far, about 476,000 health insuranceapplications have been filed, said Obama administration officials.
On Sunday, the website was updated to provide additional information about other ways to purchase insurance through the exchanges, including by phone, in person or making in an application, Obama noted.
"While the website will ultimately be the easiest way to purchase insurance though the marketplace, it isn't the only way," he said.
He added that more staff have also joined the exchanges' call centers, which have been reached by calling 1 (800) 318-2596.
Republicans in Congress have chastised Obama's top health adviser, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, for declining their invitation to testify about the glitches to an oversight panel on Oct. 24. A spokesperson for Sebelius said on Monday that she does intend to testify before Congress about Obamacare's troubled rollout but no specific date has been confirmed.
"We have always indicated to the committee that she intended to testify but that she had a scheduling conflict. We continue to work with them to find a mutually agreeable date in the near future," the spokesperson added.
Last week, The New York Times reported that Sebelius was resisting Republican pressure to resign, citing people close to her.
—CNBC with Reuters