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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.
April 11, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
It's doubtful that anyone ever expected the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services--whether it came last fall during the website disaster or on Thursday, when it actually was announced--to bring clarity to the national debate over the Affordable Care Act. And it hasn't. Most of the reporting of her announcement has highlighted the rocky launch  of the government's enrollment portal, The law's surprising success in overcoming its stumble at the starting gate, as represented by this week's announcement that 7.5 million Americans have signed up for insurance for 2014 via the state and federal exchanges, gets second billing at best.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
April 9, 2014
The peculiar efforts by opponents of the Affordable Care Act to knock down the unquestionably good news about its effects have continued this week, fueled by an omnibus survey released Tuesday by the Rand Corp. We reviewed the report's findings here . The report, based on the latest poll of a group of respondents questioned by Rand every month, concluded that 9.3 million Americans gained health insurance between September 2013 and sometime in mid-March. It acknowledged that there's a built-in margin of error because of the survey size (roughly 2,400 individuals)
April 8, 2014 | Michael Hiltzik
The long-awaited Rand Corp. study of Obamacare's effect on health insurance coverage was released Tuesday and confirmed the numbers that had been telegraphed for more than a week : At least 9.3 million more Americans have health insurance now than in September 2013, virtually all of them as a result of the law. That's a net figure, accommodating all those who lost their individual health insurance because of cancellations. The Rand study confirms other surveys that placed the number of people who lost their old insurance and did not or could not replace it -- the focus of an enormous volume of anti-Obamacare rhetoric -- at less than 1 million.
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