WASHINGTON — The rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act again came under sharp criticism Wednesday, three weeks into the launch, but this time some of the loudest voices were among top Democrats, including President Obama’s closest allies.
Democrats on Capitol Hill said they were unhappy with the performance of the Obamacare website, which has been plagued with problems since its debut Oct. 1. Even the president’s longtime campaign guru, David Axelrod, was critical of the administration’s handling of the issue.
“This has been shrouded in a little bit of mystery. I don’t quite understand why that is,” Axelrod said in an MSNBC interview this week. He added that if he were at the White House, he would be “very, very tough on the people who are responsible.”
Even those who support the new healthcare law — and its promise of providing affordable insurance coverage to millions of Americans — suggested that aspects of it may need to be postponed unless changes can be put into place quickly. Some were calling on Obama to hold people accountable for the mistakes.
“Somebody’s got to man up here — get rid of these people,” said Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), who stopped short of calling for the ouster of any specific administration official or contractor but characterized the president’s response to the rollout as “weak.”
“There are people like myself who supported the Affordable Care Act, but I’m not oblivious to the fact that this layout has done harm and damage to the brand,” Nolan said.
Democratic Party leaders also suggested that heads should roll, even while maintaining strong support for Obamacare.
“I absolutely believe that somebody should be held accountable,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), the No. 4 Democrat in the House.
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