Those figures remain shy of original, internal projections that HHS made. But that's in good part the result of Obamacare’s early technical problems, with federal and many state sites effectively non-functional for October and part of November. The day-to-day, week-to-week pace of enrollment is now closer to what experts had predicted all along, though in February it lagged a bit. (The original projection for last month was 1.27 million; actual enrollment turned out to be 940,000.) By the time open enrollment ends, on March 31, the total number of people selecting private plans almost certainly won’t be the 7 million target the administration once identified. It should be more than 5 million, although how much more remains to be seen.Stick with folks like Jonathan Cohn and Sarah Kliff and ignore the horse race style coverage, most of which is awful. The program is both functional and viable, but it's easier to report whether targets were hit than "we won't know the impact on the uninsured or how many signups are healthy, and therefore restrain next year's premiums, for some time".
Of course, these numbers offer just one, very partial glimpse of how the Affordable Care Act is working. HHS doesn’t have data on whether these people had insurance previously—and, if they did, what kind of coverage it was. HHS can't say how many people have actually paid premiums. Nor can HHS track how many people have gotten insurance outside the marketplaces, by purchasing private coverage directly from carriers or obtaining Medicaid and other government programs directly from state offices.
CNN polls on Obamacare take the added step of asking why people disapprove of the law. Result: CNN polls offer a more nuanced view of public opinion on health care than some others do.More politics and policy below the fold.
Today’s CNN poll finds that 39 percent of Americans favor Obamacare, while 57 percent oppose it. That’s awful, right? But it turns out only 39 percent oppose the law because it’s “too liberal,” while 12 percent say it “isn’t liberal enough.” That’s a total of 51 percent who favor the law or don’t think it goes far enough.
And if you peek into the internals, it turns out that Republicans and conservatives are the only groups who oppose Obamacare as too liberal.
In an extraordinary public accusation, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee declared on Tuesday that the CIA interfered with and then tried to intimidate a congressional investigation into the agency's possible use of torture in terror probes during the Bush administration.NJ.com:
The CIA clandestinely removed documents and searched a computer network set up for lawmakers, said Sen. Dianne Feinstein in a long and biting speech on the Senate floor. In an escalating dispute with an agency she has long supported, she said the CIA may well have violated criminal laws and the U.S. Constitution.
Gov. Chris Christie has called the George Washington Bridge scandal an obsession of the press that the public doesn’t care about, but two polls released today show the ordeal continues to erode his political support and public image.David Cay Johnston:
One survey, the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll, showed Christie’s popularity at an all-time low after dropping 20 percentage points since November.
What’s more, 41 percent of voters surveyed said they approved of Christie’s job performance and 44 percent disapproved — the first time the poll has shown results to be more critical than supportive of the Republican governor since he took office in January 2010.
But the executive director of PublicMind, Krista Jenkins, cautioned that the 3 point difference was within the 3.7 percentage point margin of error.
"One of the defining characteristics of the governor that makes him a nationally sought after Republican is his widespread appeal in a Democratic state," Jenkins said. "Bridgegate continues to erode that asset."
At the same time, a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll of 729 registered voters released today and conducted Feb. 22-28 showed a record low number of voters — 23 percent — said the word "trustworthy" described Christie very well, down 20 points from October.
"Can you stream me now?"Joseph Williams:
If the answer is no, you're probably going to be looking at the spinning wheel of death on your laptop for a very long time. After making a big, bold promise to wire every corner of America, the telecom giants are running away from their vow to provide nationwide broadband service by 2020. For almost 20 years, AT&T, Verizon and the other big players have collected hundreds of billions of dollars through rate increases and surcharges to finance that ambitious plan, but after wiring the high-density big cities, they now say it's too expensive to connect the rest of the country. But they'd like to keep all that money they banked for the project.
My Life as a Retail Worker: Nasty, Brutish, and CheapSean Trende, written before Republican David Jolly's win yesterday in FL-13 over Alex Sink:
After veteran reporter Joseph Williams lost his job, he found employment in a sporting-goods store. In a personal essay, he recalls his struggles with challenges millions of Americans return to day after day.
The Hill and USA Today both agree that there is a broader lesson to be learned from this race about the 2014 elections. I’m much less certain. To begin with, special elections aren’t bellwethers, except when they are. If that doesn’t sound particularly helpful, well, it isn’t meant to.Oh, and if you missed it, here's Between Two Ferns with Barack Obama and Zach Galifianakis. TIME:
The first step, says Mike Farah, Funny Or Die’s president of production and an executive producer of Between Two Ferns, was a meeting at the White House last July, which was part of the official effort to engage with Hollywood on the topic of the Affordable Care Act. He and his team came prepared with ideas. At the top of the list was Between Two Ferns.