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Updated: Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:39:49 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Obama to acknowledge problems with health-care law rollout



U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during his address to the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday Sept. 24, 2013. Andrew Burton/Associated Press

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during his address to the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday Sept. 24, 2013. Andrew Burton/Associated Press

President Barack Obama is expected to acknowledge that widespread problems with his health-care law's rollout are unacceptable, as the administration scrambles to fix the cascade of computer issues.

Obama was scheduled to speak Monday from the Rose Garden, his first health care-focused event since the scope of the problems became apparent. The troublesome rollout of the health-care exchanges has been a glaring embarrassment for Obama's signature legislative achievement.

White House officials say the president will discuss steps the administration is taking to address the failures, including ramping up staffing at call centres where people can apply for insurance by phone. The Department of Health and Human Services says it is also bringing in technology experts from inside and outside of government to help diagnose the issues.

HHS, in a memo released Sunday, said it was also putting in place "tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of HealthCare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them."

Obama will be flanked at the Rose Garden event by people the White House says have already enrolled during the first three weeks of sign-ups. Enrolment figures are being closely guarded by the administration, which plans to release the first round of data in mid-November.

Officials did say over the weekend that nearly a half million applications have been filed through the federal- and state-run exchanges. Users must file applications before they can enrol, in part to find out whether they are eligible for government subsidies.

The White House also says about 19 million people have visited HealthCare.gov since Oct. 1.

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