The problems plaguing Obamacare and its HealthCare.gov website "are just the tip of the iceberg" and unless Congress intervenes, "Americans will be stuck on board this Titanic," Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., said Saturday in the weekly Republican address.
"It's been one month since the launch of the health care law's website, and many Americans across the country still cannot enroll."
But, Coats said, "Too many Americans still cannot even access the online exchanges, and for the few that have, they're experiencing sticker shock."
CBS News' Sharyl Attkisson reported this week that early enrollment figures are contained in notes from twice-a-day "war room" meetings convened within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after the website failed on Oct. 1. They were turned over in response to a document request from the House Oversight Committee.
The website launched on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Publicly, the government said there were 4.7 million unique visits in the first 24 hours. But at a meeting on Oct. 2, the war room notes say "six enrollments have occurred so far."
By that afternoon, enrollments were up to "approximately 100." By the end of that day, the notes reflect only "248 enrollments" nationwide.
In his weekly address, Coats continued, "[T]he President has continued to promise repeatedly, 'If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.'
"Well, tell that to over 300,000 people in Florida who have received cancellation notices or the nearly one million Californians that may see their health care insurance plans disappear," Coats said. "Tell that to the tens of thousands of Hoosiers in my state that will see similar notices arriving in their mailboxes."
President Obamathat the notices sent to consumers suggest that they're losing their coverage "somehow because of the Affordable Care Act." He argued, however, that consumers only lost coverage if insurers altered those policies at all after the law took effect. In that case, Mr. Obama said, insurers had to "replace them with quality, comprehensive coverage."
"Today that promise means that every plan in the marketplace covers a core set of minimum requirements," he said. Insurers "can't use allergies or pregnancy... or the fact that you're a woman to charge you more."
He advised the public, "If you're getting one of these letters, just shop around in the new marketplace -- that's what it's for."
A "fraction of Americans" with higher incomes will pay more, Mr. Obama said. But the new competition on the individual market and the tax credits the government is offering will ensure for most people that "you're going to get a better deal."
In his address Saturday, Coats added, "This is about more than just a website and it will take more than a 1-800 Rose Garden infomercial from the President to fix this. The failure of [the] Obamacare launch is just the tip of the iceberg, and unless we act, Americans will be stuck on board this Titanic."
Coats suggests that "this law is not working" and that Congress should step in and, first, delay penalties for individuals who don't sign up for health care and, second, eventually, scrap Obamacare and "start over and do this right for the American people."
Mr. Obama, meanwhile, in his weekly address, avoided talking about the health care rollout and instead focused on the budget debate and echoed his remarks where he urged foreign companies to "invest in America" and to "create jobs in America."
"It speaks to my top priority as President: growing our economy, creating good jobs, strengthening security and opportunity for the middle class," he said.
That "begins by ending what has done more than anything else to undermine our economy over the past few years - and that's the constant cycle of manufactured crises and self-inflicted wounds," the president continued.
He said Congress needs to focus on "Priorities. Choices. That's what this is about. And the stakes for the middle class couldn't be higher. If we don't pick the right priorities now, make the right choices now, we could hinder growth and opportunity for decades, and leave our children with something less."