ObamaCare again dominating headlines today. Yesterday, the White House said six million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. That doesn't include Medicaid expansion which will likely be more than 4 million. The number is lower than the 7 million goal discussed before the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov, but a pretty big turnaround for the beleaguered program. There are also reports of a late surge in signups before Monday's semi-official deadline for enrollment. Remember also, the administration delayed further the deadline using the "honor system."
So some good news for the Obama Administration. But it comes with a lot of asterisk.
First, the law remains extremely unpopular. In fact, new polling by the Associated Press and GfK shows public support is at or near its lowest level since the passage of the law. The new poll finds just 26% support the law.
And the critics are raising red flags about numerous other problems with the law including high deductibles for some, still troubled web sites, numerous glitches, insurance company problems, information gaps, doctor shortages, and limited exchanges. Here's how the Obama-friendly New York Times put it:
"The online insurance marketplace in Oregon is such a technological mess that residents have been signing up for health coverage by hand. In Texas, political opposition to President Obama's health law is so strong that some residents believe, erroneously, that the program is banned in their state.
But in Connecticut, a smoothly functioning website, run by competent managers, has successfully enrolled so many patients that officials are offering to sell their expertise to states like Maryland, which is struggling to sign people up for coverage."
The Times says it looks less like a sweeping federal overhaul and more of a messy collection of individual measures.
The search for lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is moving. The search is moving some 700 miles northeast after new analysis of radar data suggests the plane flew faster and used more fuel than previously believed. Nine planes are joining the latest search for debris. Apparently it now looks like all those previous reports of debris were false alarms and were likely just sea junk.
The search has been frustrating for those in Washington state too. It's been nearly a week since that mudslide in Oso, WA that destroyed more than 60 structures. The death toll remains at least 26. A higher toll will reportedly be released later today, but authorities have been unreliable when it comes to counting the dead.
After four days in Europe, President Obama now headed to Saudi Arabia for a meeting with King Abdullah. He's set to reassure the Saudis about U.S. commitment to the region.
President Obama remains watchful of Russia's massive troop and equipment buildup on the border of eastern Ukraine. Fears are growing at the Pentagon that Russia's annexation of Crimea is not the end of the Russian adventurism.
Yesterday Congress passed $1B in aid to Ukraine.
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