Obama defends health care reform

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Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) US President Barack Obama Monday defended his signature health care reform, promising "tech surge" to fix the widespread problems of its new online health insurance marketplace and get millions of uninsured Americans enrolled for coverage.

Obama made his first public remarks addressing the Affordable Care Act, often dubbed as the ObamaCare, since its centerpiece, the online healthcare exchange opened for business Oct 1, has been undergoing website glitches and under strong criticism, Xinhua reported.

Speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House, Obama said " nobody is madder" than him about the fact that the online insurance marketplace "has not worked as smoothly as it is supposed to work".

"And there's no excuse for the problems," he added.

However, Obama also stressed that the team is now doing everything possible to get the website working "better, faster, sooner".

"And we are confident that we will get all the problems fixed," he pledged.

Obama also tried to make the case for his signature health-care overhaul. Despite the recent technical glitches, he argued, the Affordable Care Act was "much more" than just a website.

He suggested people "bypass the website and apply by phone or in person," while waiting for the website to be fixed.

Obama encouraged those uninsured Americans not to lose faith in the new online marketplace which has been launched just three weeks.

He put up several examples of Americans saving money on insurance plan offered on the online marketplace, and argued that the essence of the law is to make health insurance available to people.

"So here's the bottom line, the product, the health insurance is good. The prices are good. It is a good deal. People don't just want it, they're showing up to buy it," said Obama.

He said 20 million visitors have checked the website, which showed "the demand is there".