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Obama: 'We're not going back' on healthcare reform

Dec. 3, 2013 at 4:30 PM  |  Updated Dec. 3, 2013 at 5:22 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. officials said Tuesday the Obamacare website is handling "high traffic" as researchers said it will cost less than expected to implement healthcare reform.

The Department of Health and Human Services and in a Twitter post the HealthCare.gov website -- a debacle when it went live Oct. 1 -- was functioning well Tuesday, three days after the Obama administration's self-imposed deadline for fixing it.

"More than 380k visits to http://HealthCare.gov as of noon, EST. Site stable, high traffic, no queuing," HHS said.

The Kaiser Family Foundation issued a report Tuesday saying implementation of the ACA will cost billions of dollars less than projected, as expansion of Medicaid coverage and subsidies for purchase of private insurance will cost less than analysts had expected.

President Barack Obama, speaking at a White House-sponsored event Tuesday, said more than a half million Americans are set to get health insurance after the first month of healthcare reform.

"That number is increasing every day and it is going to keep growing and growing and growing," the president said.

"My main message today is we're not going back," he said.

The event, which featured 19 people the administration said had benefited from the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare, was part of a wider administration campaign to draw public attention to the ACA now that HealthCare.gov is running more efficiently.

"More problems may pop up -- as they always do when you're launching something new -- and when they do, we'll fix those, too," Obama said.

The administration has noted in recent weeks the rate of growth in the cost of healthcare has decreased significantly. Many economists say the major reason for the trend is the economic downturn that began in 2007, but administration officials say other factors are in play as well, including lower hospital readmission rates and a move within the insurance industry to reward quality, rather than quantity, of healthcare, The New York Times reported.

Kaiser Senior Vice President for Special Initiatives Larry Levitt told the newspaper "that's real change in the health system."

Charles Blahous, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, who served as an economic adviser for former President George W. Bush, told the Times claims the ACA is resulting in lower overall healthcare costs are "groundless."

The Congressional Budget Office currently estimates Medicare spending in 2020 will be $137 billion -- 15 percent less than the CBO projected in 2010 -- while Medicaid spending will amount to $85 billion, 16 percent less than previously projected, the Times reported.

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