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Obama raising money off HealthCare.gov problems

 

The troubled HealthCare.gov website may be having problems pulling in applicants for ObamaCare, but that's not stopping President Obama's political arm from pulling in cash off the dysfunctional site. 

Through his political group Organizing for Action, Obama sent a videotaped message to supporters in an email Tuesday evening. 

In the video, the president said "the website has not worked as smoothly as it was supposed to," but "we're gonna get it fixed." As he's said before, the president added: "The Affordable Care Act is much more than a website." 

The email, though, also appealed for donations, saying "the other side will spend millions to maintain the status quo." 

Supporters who click past Obama's video message are then taken to a donation page that says: "The other side has already spent a whopping $400 million in anti-Obamacare TV ads. We don't have to beat that, but we need to have the resources to fight back." 

The group has been organizing a multitude of events and social media campaigns around the health care law's implementation. OFA said those efforts will continue, but the group isn't adjusting its strategy in response to the website's issues. 

The campaign-style effort to defend the law comes as the administration, in Washington, tries to soothe both insurance companies and Democratic allies about the site's operation. 

Health insurance executives were scheduled for a meeting at the White House on Wednesday. It included Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. 

On Wednesday, the administration also sent Mike Hash, who runs the health reform office at Health and Human Services, to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers on the law's implementation. 

Only Democrats were invited to that session, prompting protest from House Speaker John Boehner, whose spokesman called it a "snub" and said the administration should brief House Republicans, too. 

But a Boehner spokesman said Wednesday that HHS has since agreed to provide House Republicans with a briefing on the site. "We are working out details," the spokesman said. 

Obama has turned to longtime adviser Jeffrey Zients to provide management advice to help fix the system. Zients, a former acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and a veteran management consultant, will be on a short-term assignment at HHS before he's due to take over as director of Obama's National Economic Council next year. 

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden and top White House officials held a call with business leaders Tuesday about the health law and other issues. Business Forward, a trade group friendly to the White House, said the administration asked the group to invite leaders to hear directly from Biden. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.