Obama can 'right this ship,' Dean says

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) on Sunday said that President Obama would have a second shot to make a good impression with his healthcare reform legacy.

“I think the president can right this ship,” he told Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Obama administration had promised a more functioning HealthCare.gov website by Dec. 1 in hopes of making up for the botched introduction only two months prior.

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By early Sunday morning, the ObamaCare web team largely touted victory in meeting its goal that the site would work for a vast majority of users, but noted that more work would need to be done.

Overall, they said they had reduced the error rate to below 1 percent, increased the capacity of visitors able to use the site at the same time while also keeping response time to about one second.

Dean said that the success of the program would lie months ahead, once people are able to sign up and fully realize the benefits.

“This is all dependent on how well the system functions, not on all the propaganda or the screaming and shouting and yelling that is going on in Washington,” he added.

“It's going to be ordinary people's experience and their neighbor's experience with this website.”

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), however, argued that the website fixes are only cosmetic.

Santorum said he talked to “some people in the insurance industry this morning. And they told me that most of the front end may be looking good….but the information coming out the back end to the insurance companies is still garbage. It's undecipherable.”

Incorrect or incomplete information being transmitted to insurance companies marked one of the most distinct problems with the initial ObamaCare website in October, an issue Santorum said would still occur.

“There’s triplicates, there's husbands labeled as wives, there's all sorts of problems with the data coming into the insurance companies. So you think you may have signed up, but you may not, because the insurance company may not have the data available to actually put you in the system,” he added.

While Santorum said the site’s failures raise questions into Obama’s overall competency level as a president, Dean – once a critic of ObamaCare – said that the website is part of a larger federal problem.

“I fail to see this has anything to do with the president's competence, other than the procurement process, which has been screwed up for many years, long before this president ever got into office. So I lose my patience with this nonsense,” Dean said.

“Look, this is not, from my point of view, an ideal plan,” he added, “but this is what passed the Congress and this is the law.”

“So who am I to say that the court -- the Supreme Court – and the Congress of the United States is wrong all the time? I think we ought to make this thing work. It's the law. It can work. Mitt Romney proved it did work in Massachusetts, where 98.5 percent of all of Massachusetts citizens have health insurance.”