By Susan Cornwell WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 2.1 million people have enrolled in private health insurance plans through new federal and state websites since they were launched in October as part of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, U.S. officials said on Tuesday. While short of the 3.3 million enrollees that the Obama administration was hoping for by now, the number signing up for insurance is a dramatic improvement from the early weeks of the program, when barely 150,000 got coverage because of a series of technical problems with the federal website HealthCare.gov. Sign-ups for what has become known as Obamacare gained pace during December as the website's performance improved, and as more Americans focused on getting coverage by the new year. Many of the newly insured under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enrolled just ahead of a December 24 deadline to receive benefits on January 1, giving health insurers a tight framework to create accounts that can be accessed by doctors. About half the 2.1 million signed up for private health insurance on the federal website, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters in a conference call. HealthCare.gov covers 36 states; another 14 states and the District of Columbia have their own healthcare websites. Sebelius said that in October and November, another 3.9 million Americans were determined eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, although this included some renewals. Both are government-run programs serving low-income people. HealthCare.gov crashed soon after its launch on October 1, as millions of visitors accessed the site, and remained balky for much of the ensuing weeks. The disastrous rollout disappointed those who were trying to enroll in subsidized health insurance, and damaged the credibility of President Obama and his signature domestic policy achievement. Two officials have left the U.S. agency that was in charge of launching the website. Administration officials hope they have turned a corner toward a better-working program that makes it possible for millions of Americans to get health insurance who did not have it before. People can still sign up until March 31 for coverage in 2014. But the new year is expected to bring new challenges as many Americans begin to use their medical coverage for the first time. U.S. officials have said that some errors occurred with the transmission of enrollment data to insurers, especially early in the enrollment period. "January 1st marks not only the beginning of a New Year, but an exciting new day in health care as millions of Americans will now be able to access care, thanks to the coverage they found at the Health Insurance Marketplace," Sebelius said in a blog posting on Tuesday. "For many of the newly insured ... it will be the first time that they can enjoy the security that comes with health coverage," Sebelius said. She said the administration was doing everything possible to help with the transition period. (Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Bill Trott)
This says a lot, despite being only one word.
Justice Neil Gorsuch fumes that the Supreme Court 'failed' to 'honor this Nation's promises' as it rolled back tribal authority in Oklahoma
Gorsuch's dissenting opinion came as the nation's highest court handed more power to states over Native American lands.
GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson likely didn't receive the answers he was hoping for.
The Washington Examiner published the blistering editorial in the wake of bombshell testimony from the Jan. 6 committee hearings.
Not as permanent but just as edgy.
- The Telegraph
The Prince of Wales enjoyed a “very emotional” first meeting with his granddaughter, Lilibet, a senior royal aide has revealed.
- Golf Channel
ZJ isn't too concerned about how LIV will affect his Ryder Cup squad. Others, however, are more anxious about their future status.
This isn't the first time he's been hospitalized.
- Rolling Stone
The former president lashed out at former Mark Meadows aide Cassidy Hutchinson, even describing her handwriting as "that of a Whacko"
The Twitter account of the House Judiciary Committee Republicans had implied Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony before the Jan. 6 panel was "all hearsay."
- Good Morning America
Kevin Bacon has officially joined in on the TikTok "Footloose" challenge. The actor, who played Ren McCormack in the 1984 classic, shared a video of himself trying out the viral dance challenge with his wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick, on Tuesday. The challenge is set to the film's theme song of the same name by Kenny Loggins.
A Chinese father who reportedly tutored his son daily for a year went viral for bursting into tears after his son scored six out of 100 points on a math exam. The child’s parents from Zhengzhou, Henan Province, received his test score on June 23. Upon learning that their son had only received six points for his final math test, the father burst into tears, as seen in a video posted to Weibo by Qilu Evening News.
Kardashian was seen next to her husband as he was reportedly taken into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on a stretcher Tuesday
- Rolling Stone
One of the witness tampering messages the Jan. 6 committee displayed on Tuesday was received by the former Mark Meadows aide, according to Punchbowl News
- Women's Health
Bella Thorne just showed off her next-level toned abs and a peek of underboob in a cut-out top on Instagram. To stay fit, Bella does boxing, Pilates, and yoga.
The comic/actor tore into one lawmaker over a basic U.S. civics fail.
Former White House chief of staff says Trump should be most worried about evidence the January 6 panel may have for obstruction of justice
Mick Mulvaney wrote an op-ed article saying Donald Trump could be the next politician to learn "it usually isn't the crime" but rather "the cover-up."
- The Hill
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified on Tuesday that she received a call from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) during then-President Trump’s speech at the Ellipse urging them not to come to the Capitol. McCarthy called Hutchinson after Trump, during his remarks at the Ellipse,…
- Women's Health
Jessica Biel is turning up the heat in a bra-top that puts her abs on display at Paris Fashion Week. The 40-year-old crushes workouts with her hubby Justin.
- The Desert Sun
Such a project would be less difficult than other aqueducts and pipelines already built.