But he wasn't trying to push the buck off entirely. "That's on me/us" may've been the most repeated line of the conference.
Asked about the November 30 deadline to get the health care site working, Obama said that it will "work much better on November 30, December 1" then it did in October. The president admitted that that was a "low bar." He said that "it's not possible for me to guarantee that 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time will have a perfectly seamless, smooth experience" come December. And HealthCare.gov will never be Apple: "Buying health insurance is not going to be like buying a song on iTunes."
The newly announced plan comes under two conditions, senior White House officials say. First, insurers must notify consumers which protections these current plans do not include. Additionally, insurers have to notify consumers they they will have new options in the marketplace that offer better coverage and protections than these plans.
The Department of Health and Human Services will use its enforcement discretion for this fix, a discretion which can be used during big changes to the health care system as a means to ensure implementation runs smoothly.
The policy is designed to allow the subset of Americans who don't meet the subsidy threshold under Obamacare -- people for whom the cancellation of their current policy is perceived as a burden -- to renew their plan.
Senior White House officials say this move allows for a better and smoother transition for this group of individuals to move from the existing market to the new market. In essence, they said, the administration is being responsive to the concerns of Americans.
The cancellations, however, aren't exactly an unforeseen consequence, as the law required insurance companies to create a baseline standard for plans. Now, however, public outcry has transformed them into something akin to unintended results. Officials say the president asked them to "fix this problem," the problem being cancellations, which were, for many insurance providers, inevitable. The president also made sure to note on Thursday that "the old individual market was not working well."
"We can't lose sight of the fact that the status quo before the Affordable Care Act, wasn't working at all," he said.
The fix may have some immediate trouble though: at a press conference right before Obama's statement, House Speaker John Boehner said he is "highly skeptical they can do this administratively." The president obvously thinks otherwise. "Regardless of what Congress does, ultimately I'm the president of the United States," he said Thursday. And Americans "expect me to do something about it."
Obama's statement today is shrouded in some ugly developments for the ACA. The malfunctioning website and Obama's pierced "if you like your plan, you can keep it" claim have helped to bring approval for the law down to 40 percent, with 55 percent disapproving in a new Gallup poll. That is the biggest gap in approval in the last year. Just 39 percent of self-identified independents approve of Obamacare.