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White House pressed on whether COVID-19 testing website will be better than botched Obamacare site

The White House was pressed on Thursday about whether anyone involved in the Obamacare website, which had a troubled rollout, would be involved in the creation of the site being launched to help people access COVID-19 testing kits.

President Joe Biden announced a range of measures on Tuesday intended to combat the new omicron variant, including this new website for ordering free at-home testing kits.

“There are a lot of Obama alum that work here,” Fox News’s Peter Doocy began. “Is anybody that was involved in the creation of HealthCare.gov going to be involved in the creation of this new website?”

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who was on President Barack Obama’s White House staff, interrupted Doocy’s question about fellow alumni to quip, “Don’t know any of them.”

“I don’t know all of the staffing particulars about the creation of the website,” she replied. “What I can tell you is that we’ve been planning for the website to be ready when tests start to be ready. And the website will ensure that tests are available equitably, and that they will be attained with ready access.”

The Biden administration has faced questions about why COVID-19 tests have been so difficult to obtain as new variants have brought the pandemic roaring back to life after vaccines seemed to have brought back a sense of normalcy.

Psaki said the administration had “taken steps that are more significant than any country in the world” to increase testing capacity. But Psaki herself had to apologize from the podium Tuesday for previously scoffing at the idea the government should send tests to people’s houses.

But the new testing website will face scrutiny. When HealthCare.gov was rolled out as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2013, the site frequently crashed as people sought to sign up for new healthcare plans.

The botched website launch became symbolic of Obamacare’s struggles, as the healthcare law contributed to the Democrats’ loss of 63 House seats in the 2010 midterm elections. Obamacare remained underwater in public polling until a failed attempt to repeal the law under former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans in 2017.

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Management of the pandemic has been a strong point for Biden in the public eye, as he won last year in large part on his promise to beat the virus.

But those numbers have taken a hit since vaccine hesitancy and new variants have disrupted plans to turn the page on the pandemic, leaving Biden in a precarious position as cities adopt new COVID-19 restrictions months after lifting them.


https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/white-house-pressed-on-whether-covid-19-testing-website-will-be-better-than-botched-obamacare-site