31 Oct 2013

Health secretary apologises for Obamacare website glitches

10:33 am on 31 October 2013

The United States health secretary has apologised to Congress for the botched launch of the website at the heart of President Obama's health care reforms.

Kathleen Sebelius told the House of Representatives she took responsibility for the technical glitches that have plagued the government's healthcare insurance website.

Ms Sebelius was questioned by a House panel about the 1 October launch, the BBC reports.

"You deserve better," Ms Sebelius said to the public, pledging the site would be repaired by the end of November.

The federal and state-run websites had been projected to enrol 7 million uninsured Americans in the first year.

Their launch was the culmination of more than three years of political wrangling in Washington over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law by Mr Obama in 2010 and known to both sides as Obamacare.

It is considered the largest overhaul of the US healthcare system since the 1960s, and aims to insure the estimated 15% of the US population who have no health cover.

But the site Healthcare.gov has been plagued by glitches, especially long wait times to sign up,

Ms Sebelius said the problems were "fixable" and that changes had already been made to improve the site's speed and reliability.