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Obama: 'We fumbled the rollout' of health care plan

Updated: Thursday, November 14 2013, 02:40 PM EST

Feds: 2,200 in Pa. pick plan on insurance exchange

By: The Associated Press and WJAC Web Staff

Just 2,200 Pennsylvanians have submitted an application and selected a plan under the new federal health care law as troubles with the gateway website are in the seventh week.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report Wednesday with the figures.

The federally run online insurance marketplace is accessible to Pennsylvanians through the website, and people with low- to-moderate income are eligible for federal tax credits to subsidize the cost of the health insurance.

But glitches with the website have left the federal government far short of goals to sign up people after it went live Oct. 1.

Besides people who picked a plan, the department says nearly 32,000 Pennsylvanians submitted applications for coverage for more than 57,000 people, such as themselves, their spouses and children.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama went before the public to defend the law and the continuing efforts to fix it.

The president's comments followed the release Wednesday of the nationwide figures detailing the number of Americans who have been able to sidestep problems with the website and sign up for coverage.

Just 26,000 people signed up for health care via the crippled federal website, and another 79,000 signed up through state-run exchanges for a total of just 106,000 enrollees nationwide.

The numbers coincide with low numbers for the president's job approval rating, which is near or below 40 percent.

The president noted that the first-month enrollment numbers in health care plans under his law are lagging and he isn't happy about it.

Obama says his administration "fumbled the rollout" of his signature health care law and is taking responsibility for problems with the launch of the program. He said, "That's on me" and vowed to build a better health care system for every American and "get it right."

Obama says it's legitimate for Americans to expect him to have to win back some credibility on the health care law and in general.

The president acknowledges his assertion that Americans who like their health plan could keep it, in his words, "ended up not being accurate." He says that wasn't his intention.

Obama says he wasn't informed directly that the website wouldn't be working, and wouldn't have rolled it out if he did. He says he wouldn't have been "stupid enough" to say it was going to be like shopping on Amazon had he known.

The president further said he hears Americans who are upset about losing their health insurance "loud and clear" and is offering a fix.

During his news conference on Thursday, he announced that insurance companies can keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled.

The administrative changes are good for just one year, though senior administration officials said they could be extended if problems with the law persist.

Obama: 'We fumbled the rollout' of health care plan

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Edgar Snyder