The HillTube

Carney: 'We did not anticipate the scale' of ObamaCare problems

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that there was "no question we did not anticipate the scale of problems" with the ObamaCare website, following an admission by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that President Obama was unaware of the technical problems HealthCare.gov would face upon its debut.

ADVERTISEMENT
"While we knew there would be some glitches and actually said publicly there could be some problems, we did not know until the problems manifested themselves after the launch they would be as significant as they turned out to be," Carney said.

The White House press secretary admitted that administration officials "did not expect the scale of problems that we have seen."

Carney added that they were "extremely unfortunate, and we take responsibility for them."

On Tuesday, Sebelius told CNN that Obama first became aware of problems with the website in "the first couple of days" after, but not before, the launch of the program.

Carney again sidestepped a question about whether the administration would consider a delay in the law's individual mandate after Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) became the first Democrat to suggest a delay in the penalty in response to the health insurance enrollment problems.

On Monday, Carney said that those “without access to affordable care due to a state not expanding Medicaid or other factors” would not be penalized under the law.

But on Wednesday, Carney said that "today Americans have access to affordable coverage," and noted that, in addition to the website, consumers could purchase healthcare coverage by phone, mail or in person.

"From day one, people have been able to enroll," Carney said.

But the White House spokesman said that Obama shared the "frustration" voiced by lawmakers, including House Democrats, over the website.

"We're not happy if the process doesn't work well," House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (Calif.) said at a press conference.

Carney said the administration was going to "keep breaking rocks on this" until they were satisfied that the website was accessible to consumers.