White House says 'Obamacare' website will be fixed by end of November

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The White House official brought in to fix the US government website created to enable Americans to buy insurance under President Barack Obama's health-care law said on Friday that healthcare.gov would be working smoothly for most users by the end of next month.

Mr Jeffrey Zients told reporters in a conference call that Quality Software Services Inc, or QSSI, will serve as a general contractor to oversee the repairs. The website has not had a technology company overseeing the entire project. Instead, the government decided early on that the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services would serve as the system integrator.

The company, a unit of health insurer UnitedHealth Group , already has a technology contract related to the website and testified on Thursday to a congressional panel about problems with the system. QSSI produced the federal data hub and a software tool for creating online consumer accounts, which was at the centre of early logjam problems.

Online insurance exchanges were launched on Oct 1 under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, often called "Obamacare", to offer health-care insurance plans to millions of uninsured Americans. But many Americans have experienced error messages and long waits in trying to sign on to healthcare.gov, which has become a political embarrassment for Mr Obama.

"By the end of November, the vast majority of consumers will be able to successfully and smoothly enroll through healthcare.gov," Mr Zients said.