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Julie Rovner:

The race is on to get the federal insurance website working smoothly by the end of November.

And it's not just because that's what federal officials have promised. December could see a surge in demand for health insurance.

"There is an avalanche coming," says Bryce Williams, managing director for exchange solutions at the benefits consulting firm Towers Watson.

Williams says the firm knows from years of experience with open enrollment for Medicare patients, that the Monday after Thanksgiving is always the single busiest day for business.

As problems have continued to plague, private health insurers and the Obama administration have been hesitant to direct consumers to try to use it, believing it counterproductive to direct people to a health care marketplace that was at best dysfunctional and at worst non-operable.

So it was noteworthy on Tuesday when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius encouraged local and state elected officials to begin directing people to use the website to purchase insurance.

Michael Hiltzik:
Holzman and Vezina are exactly the type of people Obamacare is designed to help--indeed, rescue from the cold, hard world of individual health insurance of the past. That was a world where even an undiagnosed condition might render you uninsurable. Where your insurance could be canceled after you got sick or had an accident. Where your financial health was at risk as much as your physical well-being.

These are the stories you're not hearing amid the pumped-up panic over canceled individual policies and premium shocks--many of which stories are certainly true, but the noise being made about them leads people to think they're more common than they are.

We've compiled several alternative examples for this post. They're anecdotes, sure, just like the anecdotes you've been seeing and reading about people learning they'll be paying more for coverage next year.

The difference is that Americans learning that they'll be eligible for coverage perhaps for the first time, or at sharply lower cost, are far more typical of the individual insurance market. Two-thirds of the 30 million Americans who will be eligible for individual coverage next year are uninsured today, whether because they can't afford it now or because they're barred by pre-existing condition limitations, which will no longer be legal. And more than three-quarters will be eligible for subsidies that will cut their premium costs and even co-pays and deductibles substantially.

Let's hear from a few more of them.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Dhruv Khullar:

None of this is to say the exchanges are not a good idea or that they won’t work well. But it does mean we should take steps to ensure consumers have the right support, education and protections as they make these decisions. Exchange “navigators” —who are trained to distribute impartial information regarding plans, walk people through options, and facilitate enrollment—could play a particularly important role here. Evidence from the Commonwealth Fund study above suggests that these navigators may be more effective if they use concrete, numeric examples to help consumers compare plans than if they explain terms abstractly. Unfortunately, many states are doing all they can to restrict access to navigators, leaving their residents without the guidance they need to make informed choices.
Well, you could try single payer. If you had the votes to get it passed.

Richmond Times-Dispatch:

State Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, recovering from multiple stab wounds and the death of his son, has served notice that he intends to push for change in a mental health system that doesn’t work for the people it’s supposed to help.
Deeds told a newspaper in Highland County on Monday that he faults the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board for what happened to his son, Austin C. “Gus” Deeds, who attacked his father last week and then killed himself 13 hours after the regional agency released him from an emergency custody order.

“I am alive for a reason, and I will work for change,” Deeds told The Recorder, based in Monterey. “I owe that to my precious son.”

Americans back a newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran by a 2-to-1 margin and are very wary of the United States resorting to military action against Tehran even if the historic diplomatic effort falls through, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

The findings were rare good news in the polls for President Barack Obama, whose approval ratings have dropped in recent weeks because of the botched rollout of his signature healthcare reform law.

According to the Reuters/Ipsos survey, 44 percent of Americans support the interim deal reached between Iran and six world powers in Geneva last weekend, and 22 percent oppose it.

Erik Wemple:
Today, CBS News distributed a summary of findings from an internal investigation into the discredited Oct. 27 “60 Minutes” report on Benghazi. The investigation was conducted by Al Ortiz, executive director of standards and practices at CBS News, and the findings addressed the various red flags that “60 Minutes” failed to heed in featuring the testimony of Dylan Davies, a security contractor in Benghazi at the time of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. interests in the Libyan city.

The document cited 10 discrete issues with the Benghazi story.

Lara Logan, the correspondent on the story, and the segment’s producer, Max McClellan, are taking leaves of absence following the breakdowns.

Five core realities about this whole thing [including]:  

Leaves of absence are worthless. Suspensions, leaves of absence, forced sabbaticals — whatever you call them, they’re empty and symbolic PR stunts, designed to quell public outrage, always to the detriment of the organization. They do nothing more than further shake the confidence of someone who screwed up, while marooning the employee at home — far away from the training and support that would best prevent a repeat failure.
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