Obama on Healthcare.gov Problems: Gov't IT Is 'Not Very Efficient'

By Melanie Arter | November 19, 2013 | 4:34 PM EST

President Barack Obama (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama in a question and answer segment following a speech at the 2013 Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting on Tuesday, blamed the technical problems plaguing the Obamacare website, healthcare.gov, on the way the federal government does IT procurement.

“There is a larger problem that I probably speak personally, but also as the administration, could have identified earlier, and that is the way the federal government does procurement and does IT is just generally not very efficient,” the president said.

He said he “underestimated the complexities of building out a website that needed to work the way it should.”

Obama said there’s “no bigger gap” between IT services in the private sector and that in the government. He pointed to the problems that Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department have had lately trying to digitize medical records, as an example.

“In fact, there’s probably no bigger gap between the private sector and the public sector than IT, and we’ve seen that in for example, the VA and the Department of Defense trying to deal with electronic medical records for our servicemen as they move into civilian life. Most of that stuff’s still done on paper,” Obama said.

“We’ve spent billions of dollars – I’m not saying me as in my administration. I mean we’ve now had about a decade of experimentation, spent billions of dollars, and it’s still not working the way it should, so what we probably need to do on the front end is to blow up how we procure for IT, especially on a system this complicated,” he said.