By Justin Sink - 11/19/13 05:31 PM EST
President Obama said Tuesday his administration would "obviously" need to "remarket and rebrand" the Affordable Care Act following the botched rollout of his signature legislative accomplishment.
The president said the technical glitches with HealthCare.gov meant the administration had "lost some time" toward its enrollment goals. He made the remarks in a speech to business executives at a forum hosted by The Wall Street Journal.
Admitting he had "underestimated the complexities" of creating a centralized hub to sell insurance, the president acknowledged there was a concern that too few young and healthy consumers would sign up for ObamaCare plans. Those customers are needed to keep premiums down for older, sicker individuals purchasing insurance plans.
But the president insisted that the website problems would be fixed by the end of the month and that he remained confident they could "catch up" on enrollment.
"I'm optimistic that we can get it fixed," Obama said.
The president also used the economic forum to make a broader appeal for compromise on issues like the economy and immigration reform.
Obama said he was a "congenital optimist" about passing immigration reform, despite the legislation stalling in the House.
"I would have to be. I'm named Barack Obama, and I ran for president," he quipped.
He also said he did not oppose Republican efforts to separate the bill into separate pieces. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has flatly rejected a comprehensive bill.
"If they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don't care what it looks like, as long as it's actually delivering on those core values that we talk about," he said.
On the economy, the president said that lawmakers in Washington needed to recognize their ideological differences weren't that large.
He said the debt ceiling left the political system "set up like a loaded gun" but that he was hopeful that the parties could put their differences aside.
"If we can get beyond the tactical advantages that parties perceive in painting folks as extreme and trying to keep an eye always on the next election, and for awhile at least, just focus on governing, then there is probably 70 percent overlap on a whole range of issues," Obama said.