Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Friday that the Affordable Care Act exchanges are understaffed, and she wants Congress to work to address that.
“The problem with the health insurance exchanges is that we have a very small number of people who can access them, and that is a challenge,” Burwell told reporters at the White House.
Burwell added that the White Houses website is currently undergoing upgrades, and said that the agency will be working with Congress to ensure that it is up and running by September.
In an attempt to address the shortage of qualified applicants, Burwell has suggested that Congress consider a bill to raise the threshold for individuals to qualify for federal subsidies.
The federal government runs the insurance exchanges, which cover nearly 70 million people.
The website has been under heavy scrutiny since Republicans won control of the Senate in January, and have threatened to shut it down if it doesn’t receive a $800 million boost to keep it open.
Burish said that she has been briefed on the situation, and is in regular contact with officials at HHS and the White house.
“I’ve had a number of meetings with various senior staff in HHS to understand the situation and to discuss the needs and concerns of the health insurers,” she said.
“We’re working very closely with the White houses team and with the Office of Management and Budget to address this.”
Burwell also said that her administration is working on a plan to make sure that the exchanges are able to provide affordable care to all Americans, and called the situation “critical.”