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Dec 17, 2013

Obama’s top economic aide postpones move as website fix continues

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s top economic aide Gene Sperling is postponing his departure from the White House for a month while his replacement, Jeffrey Zients, gears up for the new job after overseeing intensive efforts to fix the website used to shop for Obamacare health insurance, the White House said on Tuesday.

Obama had announced in September that his longtime adviser Sperling would step down as head of the National Economic Council on January 1, and named Zients, a trusted budget aide, as his replacement.

Dec 10, 2013

Biden announces mental health push on eve of Newtown anniversary

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a new push to increase access to mental health services with $100 million in new government funding nearly a year after a school shooting rampage in Newtown, Connecticut.

Biden, who spearheaded a failed Obama administration campaign for stronger gun control measures following the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, met with families of the victims and mental health advocates.

Dec 4, 2013

Short-term fix eyed for another problem with U.S. healthcare website

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration has found a short-term fix to pay insurance companies for plans selected on HealthCare.gov, the not-yet-complete government website used to shop for insurance required under Obama’s healthcare program.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet finished building the part of the website that would transfer billions of dollars in subsidies for plan premiums and cost-sharing payments to insurance companies.

Dec 3, 2013

Insurers warn of problems with Obamacare enrollment surge

WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) – U.S. insurers fear that a
surge in enrollments on the revamped government-run healthcare
website could create more problems for insurance companies
already struggling with error-filled applications for coverage
three weeks before a sign-up deadline.

In what could become the next major headache for President
Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy, a group representing
leading U.S. insurers said on Tuesday that technology fixes that
will enable millions of people to sign on to HealthCare.gov have
not fully addressed faulty data that the site has been sending
these companies about their new enrollees.

Dec 3, 2013

Second Obama environmental adviser to step down

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will see a second top environmental adviser step down when Nancy Sutley, the chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, departs in February, the White House confirmed on Tuesday.

Since the start of Obama’s first term, Sutley led the council, which coordinates environmental efforts between federal agencies and helps develop policy.

Dec 3, 2013

Insurers fear more problems for revamped Obamacare website

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Insurers fear that a retooling of the government-run health insurance website and a fresh surge of enrollees has opened the floodgates to more problems for President Barack Obama’s health policy overhaul, a trade group said on Tuesday.

Obama planned to tout the reboot of HealthCare.gov in a speech on Tuesday as he sought to counter criticism of his reforms after the website’s disastrous October 1 launch sent his job approval ratings plummeting and threatened to damage fellow Democrats in next year’s congressional elections.

Dec 3, 2013

One million new visits to Obamacare website Monday: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s chief of staff said on Tuesday that more than 1 million new visitors had checked out the HealthCare.gov website on Monday, the first day after a major overhaul of the troubled site used to shop for health insurance required under new reforms.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the website’s new queuing system, used in times of high traffic, worked “pretty well,” with 13,000 visitors choosing to receive an email to return later on Monday when there was less traffic, and half of that group accepting that invitation.

Dec 3, 2013

1 mln new visits to Obamacare website Monday -White House

WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s chief
of staff said on Tuesday that more than 1 million new visitors
had checked out the HealthCare.gov website on Monday, the first
day after a major overhaul of the troubled site used to shop for
health insurance required under new reforms.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said the
website’s new queuing system, used in times of high traffic,
worked “pretty well,” with 13,000 visitors choosing to receive
an email to return later on Monday when there was less traffic,
and half of that group accepting that invitation.

Dec 2, 2013

U.S. ship Cape Ray readied for possible chemical arms destruction

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government has begun outfitting a ship in its reserve ready force with equipment to enable it to destroy some of Syria’s chemical weapons at sea in the event Washington is asked to assist in the effort, a defense official said on Sunday.

The Maritime Administration vessel MV Cape Ray is being equipped with the newly developed Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, which was designed by the Defense Department to neutralize components used in chemical weapons, a defense official said on condition of anonymity.

Dec 1, 2013

Biden on delicate mission to defuse tensions in East Asia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will try to strike a delicate balance of calming military tensions with China while supporting ally Japan against Beijing on a trip to Asia this week that is being overshadowed by a territorial dispute in the East China Sea.

Aiming to counter criticism that the United States is neglecting Asia because it is distracted by domestic politics and the Middle East, the White House has long been planning a visit by Biden to Japan, China and South Korea.

    • About Roberta

      "Based on Capitol Hill, I help cover U.S. energy and environmental policy. I have reported on commodities since 1995, and have been with Reuters since 2002, moving to Washington from Canada in 2008."
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