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October 24, 2013

Health care sign-up snags, fix-it efforts detailed

(Continued)

“The president needs to man up, find out who was responsible, and fire them,” Nolan said. He did not name anyone.

Likewise in the Senate, Florida Democrat Bill Nelson said somebody should be fired over the computer problems. “That’s the problem in government today,” Nelson told ABC’s Miami affiliate. “People are not held to account.”

Obama says he’s as frustrated as anyone and has promised a “tech surge” to fix the balky website. White House spokesman Jay Carney also said the administration will be more open about the problems. After more than 20 days without briefing the media, HHS will start regular sessions on Thursday, he said.

In light of the computer problems, some Democrats are saying Obama should consider extending open enrollment season beyond next March 31, and revisit the penalties for individuals who don’t sign up and remain uninsured. Under the law virtually all Americans must carry health insurance starting next year or face fines.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi advised against the change.

“I think we should try to fix what we have, move forward with the deadline we have,” the California Democrat told reporters. “What we want to do is fix it and go forward with it, not make policies that are predicated on its not working.”

Consumers have until Dec. 15 to apply for coverage that’s effective Jan. 1.

Even if the computer problems get ironed out, the Republicans are unlikely to end their criticism. Said Boehner on Wednesday: “When you look at the problems with Obamacare, all the focus here lately has been on the website. ... I would argue the problems go much further than that.”

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