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NEWS
April 11, 2014 | By Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli, This post has been corrected. See note below.
WASHINGTON - President Obama named White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to take over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act on Friday, saying there was "no manager as experienced and competent" to run the next phase of his signature domestic program. "Sylvia was a rock, a steady hand on the wheel" as the administration dealt with the government shutdown last year, Obama told a crowd gathered in the White House Rose Garden for the announcement. "Once the government was allowed to reopen, Sylvia was vital to winning the two-year budget agreement that put an end to these manufactured crises that we had seen here in Washington so that we could keep our full focus on growing the economy and creating new jobs and expanding opportunity for everybody who's seeking opportunity.
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NEWS
April 10, 2014 | By Scott Martelle
So what can we read into a name? Republican members of Congress, in search of yet another way to honor the man who led them back from the wilderness after the Nixon White House debacle, are trying to rename a mountain after Ronald Reagan. In Nevada. Which, by definition, means out in the middle of a desert , though in this case it has a nice view of Las Vegas. And it's not even like they're trying to name a whole mountain after him. They have their eyes set on a peak that's part of Frenchman Mountain . Which means, technically speaking, Reagan will be secondary to a European.
NEWS
April 10, 2014 | By Daniel Rothberg, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
WASHINGTON -- Enrollment in healthcare exchanges created under Obamacare has risen to 7.5 million and is expected to continue increasing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Senate committee Thursday. Sebelius' announcement marks a 400,000-person uptick since Obama announced last week that 7.1 million Americans had signed up for coverage through marketplaces on the final day of open enrollment. The administration's original tally didn't include Americans who, because of issues signing up, received an extension until April 15. "During these past six months, millions have obtained the security and peace-of-mind of affordable health coverage," Sebelius said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing about her department's budget for 2015.
NATIONAL
April 10, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - Kathleen Sebelius, who helped guide the rocky and controversial rollout of President Obama's landmark healthcare law, is stepping down as Health and Human Services secretary after about five years, according to a senior administration official. In her place, the president plans to nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Sebelius was not pressured to resign, according to the administration official. But she leaves after presiding over the disastrous launch of the health law's new online insurance marketplaces last fall.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 10, 2014 | By Robin Abcarian
As Republicans and Democrats jockey for advantage months before the fall elections that could swing control of the U.S. Senate back to the GOP, both sides are honing the messages they think will spark the best turnout. For Republicans, it's Obamacare. For Democrats, it's economic equality. (Continued Republican control of the House is probably a foregone conclusion, thanks to smart maneuvering by Republicans. As the Associated Press reported last month, “Gerrymandering has a long history in the United States, pursued enthusiastically by both Democrats and Republicans.
OPINION
April 9, 2014
Re "Is Obamacare too big to fail?," Opinion, April 6 The effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act became fantasy with the first few sign-ups, hesitant and difficult as they were. Like every sort of entitlement program, once you have any beneficiaries, getting rid of the program is political kryptonite. People continue to kick and scream about the law, about the website, about the cost of premiums, about the coverage, about finding doctors and more, but the only thing they will hate more is being told they have to start all over again with some new program.
OPINION
April 6, 2014 | Doyle McManus
When Obamacare's first open-enrollment period ended last week, the tally was impressive: 7.1 million Americans signed up for insurance on federal and state exchanges by the March 31 deadline, several million more signed up for Medicaid and a whole lot of under-26 Americans got covered by their parents' plans. Those numbers represent a significant political victory for Democrats, making it highly unlikely that Republicans will be able to deliver on their promise to repeal the law. "You're not going to turn away 7 or 10 million people from insurance coverage," crowed Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
BUSINESS
April 4, 2014 | By Soumya Karlamangla
California officials often cited the high demand for health insurance in explaining this week's last-minute surge for Obamacare. But some of the people who waited in line for hours this week said another big reason was to avoid paying the health law's penalty for being uninsured. Chris Roca, 23, waited in line for more than three hours to enroll in a health plan at a sign-up event in Panorama City. But he said he doesn't expect he'll get much use from his insurance. “I'm just happy I don't have to pay the penalty,” Roca said.
BUSINESS
April 2, 2014 | By Chad Terhune
Even with 1.2 million people enrolled by Monday's deadline, California's health exchange isn't done adding to the Obamacare rolls - and it won't be for quite some time. In the months to come, it's estimated that several hundred thousand more Californians could qualify for a special enrollment period as college students graduate, families move and workers change jobs. But health insurers say the state's current rules for late sign-ups rely too much on the honor system and invite abuse by people waiting until they get sick.
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