After two months of false starts, error messages and pleas for patience from the once-hobbled federal online health care exchange, Karen Egozi, the chief executive of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, watched on Monday as counselors navigated the website’s pages with relative ease.Sarah Kliff:
Click. Next page. Click. Next page. The website, HealthCare.gov, was working so well that Ms. Egozi, who oversees the 45 navigators in eight locations who help consumers enroll in health plans, said her team gave the system an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, meaning that most people got as far as selecting a plan or taking home information to select a plan. It felt like a champagne moment.
“I’m 80 percent satisfied,” Ms. Egozi said. “I think it will be great when it’s 100 percent.”
We're inching closer to Obamacare's Dec. 23 deadline for purchasing insurance coverage that begins on Jan. 1. And with HealthCare.gov now working for most -- but not all -- consumers, questions are pouring in about how to actually make an informed, successful insurance purchase. This guide is what you need to know -- and we'll be updating it going forward, as we get new questions from readers.NY Times:
Obama Sees a Rebound in His Approval RatingsPolls are snapshots; they change over time. It will take a few more months for people who aren't needing the web site and aren't changing their health insurance to decide how they feel about the law. Meanwhile, nuanced polls show that unhappiness with the law is partly because it didn't go far enough. Bottom line: While it would be untrue to characterize the law as "popular" and "successful" right now, don't believe everything you read about it.
Lise Colgan, 60, a Democrat from Cottage Grove, Ore., who approves of the health law, agreed. “I think the president could have been a little more hands-on with the botched rollout,” she said, “but I don’t blame him for technology failures.”
The law itself remains unpopular; half of the respondents disapproved of the Affordable Care Act, while 39 percent approved, the poll found. But Americans seem to view the law more favorably now than a month ago, when 61 percent disapproved and just 31 percent approved.
Several independent voters predicted in interviews that the law would become more popular as more Americans gained benefits through the law.
Here’s what’s in Paul Ryan and Patty Murray’s mini-budget dealMore politics and policy below the fold.
How’s Barack Obama doing? “Back To Pre-Rollout Levels,” says Talking Points Memo, based on a new Pew poll. Pew reports a 45 percent approval rating; not great, but not bad, and up from last month. But just a few hours ago, Obama was in terrible shape; a new Quinnipiac survey had him at 38 percent, down a point since November (to TPM’s credit, they included that Q number in their story, albeit far down). But that’ s not all! Today’s Gallup number had Obama at 40 percent, while Rasmussen (for whatever it’s worth) actually has Obama spiking up to 47 percent — almost healthy. And there was also a McClatchy-Marist poll released yesterday showed Obama at 43 percent.HuffPost Pollster:
So what to make of the somewhat contradictory results? - The Quinnipiac poll typically produces a slightly lower approval job rating for President Obama because it reports on the attitudes of self-reported registered voters, while the Pew Research surveys sample all U.S. adults (the non-voters tend to be slightly more Democratic). Other new polls coming soon will help clarify Obama's standing, but among the polls that tracked Obama's progress since early November, Gallup, Rasmussen Reports and Economist/YouGov have all shown little change in Obama's approval percentage. YouGov, like Quinnipiac, showed a slight increase in the disapproval rating.It's just too soon to tell what a better functioning health care web site, and economy, means. The default position from voters is skepticism, but continued experience with Obamacare and monthly economic numbers will decide what people think, not pundit doom and gloom. And in any case, the full set of recent polls is here.
The day I have been dreading for a long time is almost here. This upcoming Saturday is 14 December, a year since that dark day when evil visited my town killing 20 children and 6 educators at the Sandy Hook School, that wonderful community school down the road from me.Brookings:
I feared that we would be hurled back to that awful period following 12/14 when the media overran the Connecticut town no one had heard of, a time when we could not sleep, we spent our days pretending to be strong for our children, and we quietly escaped into the bathroom to cry. But now that the "day" is so near, my trepidation has subsided. At the six-month "anniversary" Newtown Reverend Matt Crebbin ended the interfaith service he led by blaring Bob Marley through the Church's sound system: "One Love! One Heart! Let's get together and feel all right." He was right. Newtown got America together and began building a partnership among communities from coast to coast, all united to reduce gun violence, and, it feels all right – or, at least, a little lighter.
On the cusp of the anniversary, I have HOPE, hope that because of this new coalition of Americans, "change is gonna come". Newtown is no longer just a place, but a movement.
Five Good Ideas for a Budget DealDana Milbank:
Concern is also spreading on the right that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is planning to defy the tea party set on immigration reform. Reports in conservative media outlets say that the speaker is planning to hold off on immigration votes until after primary filing deadlines have passed. That way, lawmakers needn’t fear a challenge from somebody criticizing a vote for “amnesty.” A Boehner spokesman called the reports rumor, but some GOP lawmakers are hoping the speaker pursues just such a strategy.