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Obama says healthcare rollout fraught with problems, offers fix

U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November
U.S. President Barack Obama talks about the Affordable Care Act in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, November

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama offered a fix to his troubled healthcare law on Thursday that would allow insurance companies to extend for one year the health plans of Americans that would otherwise face cancellation.

Struggling to convince Americans he is on top of the growing crisis around the Affordable Care Act, Obama disclosed that he was not informed directly that the glitch-prone website might not work the way it was supposed to work when enrollment began on October 1.

He declined to say that all problems with the website would be ironed out by a November 30 deadline but said there would the improvements would be "marked and noticeable."

In remarks in the White House briefing room, Obama said he has not been happy about the healthcare law's rollout and that he understands Americans' frustration with it.

To those Americans who have already had their health plans canceled and complained about it, "I hear you loud and clear," he said.

In a message to congressional Republicans who are pushing an alternative to his healthcare plan, Obama said he would not accept "brazen" legislative attempts to undermine the law.

Asked if the public's trust in government was being lost because of the rollout problems, Obama said: "No doubt that people are frustrated."

"This one is deserved, it's on us," he said.

Obama said he would work hard to win back the public's confidence in his leadership.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; editing by Jackie Frank)

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