HEALTH

Obamacare problems: Phone applications have similar problems to web site

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(WJLA) - The White House is continuing to come under fire for the troubled rollout of President Obama’s signature health care bill.

White House spokesman Jay Carney insists the White House is trying to help those stymied by the technical problems at Healthcare.gov, telling them to skip the website and enroll by mail, in person or over the phone.

“The person who calls isn't the one who continues to wait after the application is filled,” he said.

The president promised no long delays.

“Once you get on the phone with a trained representative, it usually takes about 25 minutes for an individual to apply for coverage, about 45 minutes
for a family,” he said.

But internal Obama administration memos obtained exclusively by ABC News from Republican congressional investigators show applications by phone have had the same problems as the web site because those trained representatives are using the same system.

“The same portal is used to determine eligibility no matter how the application is submitted (paper, online)," reads one memo written by the team in charge of fixing the website.

The memo says the non-web applications are essentially a way to buy time.

“The paper applications allow people to feel like they are moving forward,"
it reads, "at the end of the day, we are all stuck in the same queue.”
Carney said it was to help Americans.

“The point was to relieve some of the frustration that Americans were understandably experiencing,” Carney says.

Republicans continue their calls to delay the implementation of the penalty
for not having insurance.

"I would say to the president, ‘why doesn't he call a timeout on this?’” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire.

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