By Amie Parnes - 11/14/13 04:26 PM EST
CLEVELAND – Hours after admitting his administration fumbled ObamaCare’s rollout, President Obama took credit on Thursday for his administration's tackling of "a broken healthcare system.”
In comments at the ArcelorMittal steel plant here, he said the healthcare law, despite its problems, was ensuring that costs have grown at the slowest pace on record.
He also vowed to get the HealthCare.gov website working “the way it’s supposed to.”
“We will fix what needs to be fixed,” Obama said.
“There's no question the rollout was much tougher than we expected,” Obama added, before saying he would not let the country go back to the “broken” system of the past that left too many people uninsured.
“We’re not going to walk away from the 40 million Americans without health insurance. We are not going to gut this law,” Obama said. “We will fix what needs to be fixed. But we’re going to make the Affordable Care Act work. And those who say they are opposed to it and can’t offer a solution will push back.”
Obama spoke hours after a statement and press conference at the White House where he acknowledged the political crisis facing his administration and Democrats over the healthcare law.
He announced an administrative change that would allow insurance companies to continue to offer plans for another year that had been canceled, an effort to address the political storm stemming from millions of canceled plans despite his promise that people could keep their existing plans under ObamaCare.
At the steel plant, Obama also credited Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, for expanding Medicaid access in his state under ObamaCare.
“He didn't do it because he loves me so much,” said Obama, who urged other governors to offer the expanded Medicaid coverage.
Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare.
Enrollment figures announced on Wednesday showed strong interest in that program, even as a paltry number of people were able to enroll in ObamaCare through the federal enrollment website.
Obama spent most of the speech discussing the success of the steel plant, which produces much of its steel for the auto industry.
The president said the plant is representative of the economy, which he said “keeps growing, creating new jobs.”
ArcelorMittal is the largest supplier of steel to the U.S. auto manufacturing sector, according to the White House.