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Obama taps into IT talent to fix site

IT pros from the private sector are helping resolve the glitches at that have prevented people from signing up for health insurance.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

The White House has called in the tech troops to try to get its health insurance Web site up to snuff.

Since launched a few weeks ago, the site has experienced various technical issues, preventing many people from registering for health insurance. In a speech Monday, President Barack Obama said that the government has pulled in IT people from around the country to fix the site's problems.

"The Web site that's supposed to make it easy to apply for and purchase the insurance is not working the way it should for everybody," Obama acknowledged. "The Web site has been too slow. People have been stuck during the application process."

But the problems are getting fixed, Obama said, expressing confidence that they will get resolved.

"We are doing everything we can possibly do to get the Web site working better, faster, sooner. We've got people working overtime 24-7 to boost capacity and address the problems," Obama said.

"Experts from some of America's top private-sector tech companies, who have seen things like this happen before, are reaching out and offering to send help," the president explained. "We've had some of the best IT talent in the entire country join the team, and we're well into a tech surge to fix the problem."

So far, almost 20 million people have visited, according to Obama. Even with all the problems, the site is still working for many people, he added. However, consumers who continue to run into trouble on the site can sign up for the offered health insurance by phone or in person.

Obama also explained that the process is only three weeks into a six-month open enrollment period. The insurance itself won't kick in until January 1, 2014. The plans and prices will be available throughout the enrollment period. And the first premium isn't required until December 15.

Still, that gives the government less than two months to make sure the site works as it's supposed to, and for everybody.