WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) — President Obama said Monday that his backers will play a crucial role in whether implementation of his signature health care law is a success.
Obama again acknowledged problems with the glitch-plagued HealthCare.gov website, but framed the battle for his troubled health care law as one he'll fight with his supporters.
Obama's comments came in a call organized by Organizing for Action, a political group founded by alumni of his two presidential campaigns.
"We're still going to have to make sure that we don't use the website alone to sign people up," Obama said. "What I want to do is make sure that everybody on the phone call understands that we've always understood that we're going to have to enroll people by mail, we're going to have to enroll people over the phone, we're going to have to enroll people in person."
The president reiterated that he remains confident that by the end of the month, the federal exchange —HealthCare.gov — is going to be functioning smoothly for the vast majority of users.
But in the first six weeks of implementation, Obama said that his administration has learned just how complicated the process of purchasing insurance can be for some Americans, who in some cases are purchasing health insurance for the first time.
With that in mind, he told listeners on the call that their support could prove to be difference maker.
"You can help encourage folks and give them the pathway so they can finally sign up and get the health care they need," Obama said. "We have made sure that we've got a strong plan not just to fix the website, which I'm taking responsibility for, but that we also have to make sure there are other ways people can sign up. And you guys are going to be critical in that process.
"As we go into this holiday season, we got to remember the conversations we have around the dinner table, when we are talking to co-workers at Christmas parties, when we are out there in communities — our churches, our synagogues," Obama added.
OFA said 200,000 people participated in the web streamed phone call with the president.
"Despite all the noise out there, despite all the criticism, despite all the setbacks we've experienced throughout this process, I have never lost faith in our ability to get this done," Obama told supporters. "And mainly that's because of all of you. You guys have lifted me up and lifted each other up at every step of the way."