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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.

Dec 1, 2013

Obamacare website enters critical phase, unclear if fixes are enough

By Sharon Begley and Roberta Rampton

(Reuters) – The rollout of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law entered a critical phase on Saturday, the deadline for substantially fixing the program’s troubled enrollment website, as the administration scrambled to address the most obvious glitches.

The White House, facing mounting pressure from Republican opponents and members of Obama’s Democratic party, promised five weeks ago that by November 30 it would repair HealthCare.gov. The site was designed to help people sign up for medical coverage but has been plagued by errors, outages, and slow speeds since a disastrous October 1 launch.

Nov 30, 2013

Obamacare website faces crucial weekend after technology overhaul

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Americans are getting their
first look on Saturday at whether a five-week, round-the-clock
technology overhaul has made it easier to use the troubled
website that is the backbone of President Barack Obama’s
landmark healthcare overhaul.

The White House had pledged that HealthCare.gov, which has
been plagued by errors, outages, and slow speeds since its
disastrous Oct. 1 launch – would be working for most people this
weekend.

Nov 30, 2013

Crucial weekend for Obamacare website begins with a shutdown

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – A crucial weekend for the
troubled website that is the backbone of President Barack
Obama’s healthcare overhaul appears to be off to a shaky start,
as the U.S. government took the HealthCare.gov site offline for
an unusually long maintenance period into Saturday morning.

Just hours before the Obama administration’s self-imposed
deadline to get the insurance shopping website working for the
“vast majority” of its users by Saturday, the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it was
taking down the website for an 11-hour period that would end at
8 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) on Saturday.

Nov 30, 2013

U.S. healthcare website down overnight for extended upgrade

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government said it would take down the website at the center of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms for an extended 11-hour period overnight on Friday as technology experts push to complete upgrades by a November 30 deadline.

The website, HealthCare.gov, was supposed to make it easy to shop for health insurance required by the Obamacare law when it launched on October 1, but quickly turned into a political disaster after errors and timelags prevented most people who visited the site from signing up.

    • 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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