People have until March 31 to sign up for coverage. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office had projected that about 7 million people would gain coverage through the exchanges during the first year.
The president on Monday guaranteed that everyone who wants to get insurance through the new health care exchanges will be able to, even if they have to enroll over the phone or fill out a paper application.
Obama's event in the White House Rose Garden had the feeling of a health care pep rally, with guests in the Rose Garden applauding as Obama ticked through what the White House sees as benefits of the law. The president was introduced by a woman who had successfully managed to sign up for health insurance through the marketplaces in her home state of Delaware.
The rollout failures have been deeply embarrassing for the White House. The issues have called into question whether the administration is capable of implementing the complex policy and why senior White House officials — including the president — appear to have been unaware of the scope of the problems when the exchange sites opened on Oct. 1.
Obama, in his most extensive remarks about the health care problems, insisted Monday that the health care law is about more than just a website.