About a month ago, the Obama administration released its enrollment totals for the Affordable Care Act, offering data that covered just the first month of the open-enrollment period. Given the systemic problems with healthcare.gov, the figures were expected to fall far short of projections, and they did – 106,185 consumers signed up for health insurance through an exchange in October, and only about a quarter of that total signed up by way of the federal marketplace.
The totals were vastly improved in November …. Note that the enrollment totals do not include 1.9 million Americans who have not yet selected a plan, but who’ve gone through the eligibility process. Also note, these totals include the period before the darn website got fixed.
….Whether the right wants to admit it or not, I can think of about 1.2 million reasons – and growing – why the Affordable Care Act isn’t going away.
Brian Beutler: How to tell which Republicans care about their constituents’ health
A new moral dilemma: Now that Healthcare.gov is working, some Republicans have a moral quandary to consider
…. Healthcare.gov is now working well enough to sign up tens of thousands of people a day. The improvement is both anecdotal and rooted in data. The administration, its allies, and insurance companies are now stepping up enrollment campaigns that were put on ice in October and November. Thousands of people whose insurers canceled their coverage, or who got stuck on Healthcare.gov last month, are now relieved to find reasonable options available on the federal exchange ahead of the Dec. 23 deadline to sign up for coverage that begins Jan. 1.
…. But if the big story is the turning tide of Healthcare.gov, the corollary is that committee Democrats don’t have to sit around playing defense against GOP attacks. They can attempt to reorient the debate around Republican efforts to discourage enrollment — particularly now that their constituents can, for the most part, actually access the law’s benefits.
This has been a year when America re-embraced diplomacy after a frustrating decade of war, displaying a relentlessly pragmatic approach that recalls the days of such deal-making secretaries of state as Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker III.
The secret diplomatic machinations have been dizzying, and sometimes disorienting. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have opened doors and created opportunities for settling intractable conflicts…..
The Iran nuclear agreement was the most striking example of the willingness to engage former adversaries…..
Israelis I talked to afterward were impressed (if not always convinced) by the dry, precise clarity of Obama’s argument for testing the Iranians
Yesterday, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray announced a budget deal that eases up on the dumb sequestration, meets the House and Senate budget numbers in the middle, raises minimal revenue and avoids another government shutdown. And right on cue, ideologues on the Right and Left have begun to pounce at any hint of compromise.
John Boehner is taking flack from – and lashing out at – the right wing of activists who are incensed at the fact that House Republicans would strike any deal at all that could win President Obama’s blessing, even a qualified one. Groups like Heritage Action and Americans for Prosperity (hmm… they seem to have a funding source in common) are lobbying Republicans to scuttle the deal, crying foul at the GOP’s agreement of $45 billion in higher spending than their previous position.
But if the Right wing fanatics are good at whipping up the Republican party into a frenzy, our own ideologues have also been honing their skills of whining and short-sightedness. Yesterday, it started with Ezra Klein….
Late Tuesday night, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that they had come to an agreement on a budget deal, ending negotiations begun as part of the agreement to re-open the government in October. The deal still has to be passed by the House and Senate and then implemented by appropriations committees by January 15. Here’s what you need to know about what’s in the Murray-Ryan agreement….
TPM: Biden Says His Ancestors ‘Didn’t All Come Here Legally’
Before you decry “illegal immigrants,” Joe Biden thinks you ought to check your own familial history. That’s what the vice president said Wednesday during an online forum in response to a questioner who claimed her family immigrated to the United States legally from Ireland in the 19th century.
“My great-great grandparents came escaping the famine and they didn’t all come here legally,” Biden said, as quoted by Politico. “They didn’t all come legally. And the existence of the system isn’t all truncated like it is now. I’d check your ancestry to make sure that they did come legally if that’s a concern to you.”