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Dec 15, 2013

House budget chief Ryan says pact boosts Republican prospects

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican co-author of a rare bipartisan budget deal in Congress defended the agreement from opposition in his own party on Sunday as an asset that could help Republicans capture the Senate next year and the White House in 2016.

In a pair of televised interviews, House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the deal he struck with Democratic Senator Patty Murray could also bring progress on tax reform, but there was little chance of a “grand deficit reduction bargain” as long as the Senate and White House were controlled by Democrats.

Dec 13, 2013

U.S. lays out steps to smooth Obamacare coverage for January

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration asked insurers on Thursday to be flexible with Americans trying to buy new health policies through the federal website HealthCare.gov, as officials race to fix problems still plaguing the enrollment process.

U.S. officials laid out a series of steps to help prevent disruptions in coverage for health policies due to start January 1, including the possibility of retroactive coverage.

Dec 11, 2013

Republicans attack slow pace of Obamacare enrollments

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – The Obama administration
touted improvements to its new health insurance website on
Wednesday and opposition Republicans shifted their criticism to
the slow pace of early enrollments and fears some people may be
left uninsured when coverage starts on Jan. 1.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius,
in her third congressional hearing since the disastrous Oct. 1
rollout of the website at the center of President Barack Obama’s
policy overhaul, sought to reassure lawmakers that steps were
being taken to find out what went wrong and to install a
stronger management team.

Dec 11, 2013

Obamacare health enrollment doubled in November: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of people seeking health insurance under Obamacare more than doubled in November to around 250,000, according to a government report on Wednesday, showing the landmark healthcare law is still far from its goal of extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.

The new tally brought the cumulative total for October and November to 365,000 people who have selected health plans in new online marketplaces set up in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Just over 800,000 have been determined eligible for government health coverage including the Medicaid program for the poor.

Dec 3, 2013

Retooled Obamacare website traffic surges but problems remain

By David Morgan and Lewis Krauskopf

(Reuters) – A surge of visitors clogged the U.S. government’s revamped healthcare insurance shopping website on Monday, signaling that President Barack Obama’s administration has a way to go in fixing the portal that showcases his signature domestic policy.

Facing its first big test since officials proclaimed over the weekend that they had met their deadline to make HealthCare.gov run smoothly for the “vast majority” of users, the site performed markedly better than it did during its disastrous launch two months ago – but was still short of the crisply running insurance marketplace Obama once touted.

Dec 2, 2013

Obamacare website faces new tests as traffic builds

Dec 2 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and his
HealthCare.gov website face another critical test this week, as
Americans who have been unable to enroll for health insurance
coverage rush to a site that continues to face challenges.

While the administration said it met its weekend deadline
for making the website operate smoothly for most users, it must
prove HealthCare.gov can handle a surge of enrollment as
non-profit groups begin efforts to reach consumers before a Dec.
23 deadline for coverage that begins Jan. 1.

Dec 2, 2013

U.S. HealthCare.gov website faces new tests as traffic builds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and his HealthCare.gov website face another critical test starting this week, as Americans who have been unable to enroll in health coverage under Obamacare rush to a site that continues to face challenges.

A day after the administration said it met its weekend deadline for making HealthCare.gov operate smoothly for most users, networks of volunteer organizations are expected to resume enrollment activities after a long U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend, many of them with backlogs of would-be applicants waiting for access.

Dec 1, 2013

Obama administration says achieves key goal of fixing HealthCare.gov

Dec 1 (Reuters) – Two months after the disastrous launch of
a key component of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law,
administration officials on Sunday said they had achieved their
goal of getting HealthCare.gov operating smoothly but warned the
website will need more fixes.

Obama’s specially appointed adviser Jeffrey Zients said a
five-week emergency “tech surge” had doubled the capacity of the
online health insurance portal while making it more responsive
and less prone to errors.

Dec 1, 2013

White House to showcase HealthCare.gov fixes at crucial juncture

WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Two months after Obamacare’s
disastrous launch, senior administration officials on Sunday
will seek to showcase the repairs to the government’s troubled
website meant to sign up millions of people who need subsidized
health insurance.

President Barack Obama’s specially appointed adviser,
Jeffrey Zients, is expected to describe the results of a
five-week emergency effort aimed at making the federal
HealthCare.gov website more accessible to users, more responsive
and less prone to errors, according to officials.

Nov 27, 2013

Even if website works, Obamacare could see trouble ahead

WASHINGTON, Nov 27 (Reuters) – The Obama administration says
it is on target to make its problematic health insurance website
work smoothly for the “vast majority” of users by this weekend,
but some Americans who want coverage by Jan. 1 may not be able
to get it – even if they successfully navigate the portal and
sign up for a plan.

The problem, according to insurance industry officials and
other specialists, is that the administration is behind schedule
in building a computer program needed to help insurers verify
the names, insurance plan choices and other details of those who
sign up for health coverage under the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

    • About David

      "David Morgan has covered news from Wall Street and Fleet Street to the White House, the Pentagon and Congress, including politics, macroeconomics, military affairs, corporate finance, U.S. intelligence, national security and the international markets. He has also reported from Atlanta on the rise of American conservatism, civil rights, homegrown terrorism and the Olympics, and helped chronicle the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath from Philadelphia, New York and Washington."
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