(USA TODAY) --A defiant President Obama said Monday he is mad about problems with anew health care website, but argued that the Affordable Care Act as awhole is working as planned.
While HealthCare.gov hasn't worked"as it was supposed to have worked," Obama said during a White Housespeech that once-uninsured Americans have signed up for coverage and arereceiving benefits.
"The product -- the health insurance -- is good," Obama said. "The prices are good. It is a good deal."
Facingattacks from Republicans and other critics of Obamacare, the presidentsaid his health care team is reaching out to tech experts to help fixmassive website problems that have hampered the rollout of his landmarkpiece of legislation.
There is "no excuse for the problems" on the website, he said.
"Nobody'smadder than me about the fact that the website isn't working as well asit should," Obama said, "which means it's going to get fixed."
Asidefrom the website, Obama said the new health care law is providingconsumer protections and benefits for millions of Americans, includingmammograms and birth control services. He told stories of now-coveredAmericans who had once been denied insurance because of pre-existingconditions.
"The essence of the law, the health insurance that's available to people, is working just fine," Obama said.
CongressionalRepublicans who opposed the 2010 health care law -- a key factor inthis month's government shutdown -- said the initial problems call theentire program into question.
Citing reports that few people havesigned up for health care exchanges, Senate Minority Leader MitchMcConnell, R-Ky., said that "another campaign-style event won't solvethe myriad problems facing consumers under Obamacare."
McConnellsaid that "for months, the American people have been learning about theimpact Obamacare will have on individuals and families in the form ofhigher premiums, disrupted insurance and lost jobs -- more brokenpromises from the administration."
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., aprominent critic of the new law, said the president designed his speechto "draw the media's attention to a handful of persons who have appliedfor Obamacare -- while ignoring the untold number of Americans who arelosing the plans they liked because of Obamacare."
Cruz and anumber of House Republicans opposed a new budget plan unless it defundedthe health care law, leading to the 16-day shutdown that ended justlast week. Some Republicans also objected to increasing the debt ceilingunless some provisions of the law were delayed.
In his WhiteHouse speech, Obama charged Republicans are playing "politics" with thehealth care law, saying that "they were willing to shut down thegovernment and potentially harm the global economy to try to get itrepealed."
Obama said the website isn't the only way people cansign for health care coverage. He said call centers have expanded, andpeople can also apply in person at federal offices across the country.
In a blog post, the Department of Health and Human Servicessaid some users of HealthCare.gov "have had trouble creating accountsand logging in to the site, while others have received confusing errormessages, or had to wait for slow page loads or forms that failed torespond in a timely fashion."
As a result, HHS said it is"bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outsidegovernment to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov."
Theadministration did not provide specific names of experts, not have theyreported exactly how many people have signed up for new insuranceexchanges.
For his speech in the Rose Garden, the president wasjoined by consumers, small business owners and pharmacists who, theWhite House said, "have either benefited from the health care lawalready or are helping consumers learn about what the law means for themand how they can get covered."
Obama's guests also included"individuals who have already applied for and enrolled in quality,affordable coverage through the marketplaces and those who are planningto after exploring and comparing their new health care options," theWhite House said.
On a sunny day, one of the White House guests nearly fainted during Obama's remarks.
Said the president: "That's what happens when I talk too long."