Slatest PM: Obama's Healthcare.gov Apology

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 21 2013 4:31 PM

Slatest PM: Obama's Healthcare.gov Apology

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President Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act alongside healthcare professionals and people affected by the new legislation, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on October 21, 2013

Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

"No Excuse": New York Times: "President Obama declared Monday that 'nobody is madder than me' about the failures of the government’s health care Web site, but said the technical problems did not indicate a broader failure of the Affordable Care Act. 'We did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a Web site. That’s not what this was about,' Mr. Obama told supporters during 25-minute remarks in the Rose Garden. ... Mr. Obama said there was 'no excuse' for the problems, but he did not say whether anyone in the government would be fired because of the failures. ... Mr. Obama read out a toll-free telephone number — 800-318-2596 — that people could call to sign up for insurance instead of going to the Web site. He said waiting times had been only one minute on the phone, though he acknowledged that his reading the number on television could change that. Several calls to the number immediately after he read it produced busy signals."

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Criticism Mounts, But So Does Support: Washington Post: "The president’s address reflected the rising anxiety within the administration over the widening problems with the exchange’s enrollment process, namely through a federal Web site that has shut out many consumers looking to buy insurance plans before the benefits take effect on Jan. 1. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday shows that a majority of Americans—56 percent—believe flaws with the Web site reflect larger problems with the health-care law, an alarming trend for the administration. But more Americans also support the law despite the enrollment issues, with 46 percent saying they support the law now, compared with 42 percent who [said] so last month."

It's Monday, October 21, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees, and the whole team at @Slatest.

School Shooting: Reno Gazette Journal: "A student at Sparks Middle School shot and killed a teacher and wounded two other students Monday morning before fatally turning the gun on himself, police said. Two unidentified males were wounded in the shooting and were taken to Renown Regional Medical Center in critical condition, a spokeswoman said. The Reno Gazette-Journal is trying to confirm the identity of the shooter and the teacher, who was reportedly a popular math teacher there, according to eyewitness accounts. Police said the teacher who was shot was trying to protect students. ... At an 11 a.m. press conference, officials said of the two injured students, one was out of surgery and the other was doing well."

Casino Shooting: Las Vegas Review Journal: "A casino patron was killed and two security guards were wounded Monday morning after a gunman opened fire inside Bally’s on the [Las Vegas] Strip. Benjamin Frazier, 41, of Las Vegas, opened fire about 5:45 a.m. in the casino at 3645 Las Vegas Boulevard South, near Flamingo Road, after an argument at the entrance to Drai’s After Hours nightclub. Frazier asked club security if he could go inside and preview the crowd before paying a cover charge. Police said he decided to pay the cover and went inside, but came out shortly afterward demanding a refund because the club wasn’t full. He pulled a gun on the security manager during the argument and began firing as several people attempted to wrest the gun from him. The security manager was shot in the arm, and another Bally’s guard was also shot. A third man was exiting the nightclub and tried to help, but was killed by the gunfire, police said. 'Typical good Samaritan killed while trying to help,' Sgt. John Sheahan said. ... Other patrons and guards then jumped on Frazier and held him until authorities arrived. Sheahan said Frazier had a head injury and will be booked in absentia on charges of murder and attempted murder."

Active Shooter Situations: NBC News: "Attorney General Eric Holder says the number and the lethal nature of active-shooter incidents nationwide have soared over the past five years. In remarks to the nation's police chiefs in Philadelphia on Monday, Holder said the United States saw an average of five active shooting incidents a year between 2000 and 2008. 'Alarmingly, since 2009, this annual average has tripled. We've seen at least 12 active shooter situations so far in 2013.'  The Department of Homeland Security defines an active shooter as an individual actively engaging in killing or attempting to kill in a confined and populated area. Recent examples include the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December and the Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C., last month. Over the past four years, Holder said, the number of people shot and killed in these incidents is up nearly 150 percent."

France Isn't Happy With US: Reuters: "France summoned the U.S. ambassador on Monday after Le Monde newspaper reported the huge scale of alleged American spying on French citizens, with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius calling the revelations unacceptable. Le Monde said the U.S. National Security Agency recorded 70.3 million items of French telephone data between December 10, 2012 and January 8, 2013 and had collected tens of thousands of French phone records. Its targets appeared to be individuals suspected of links to terrorism, but also people tied to French business or politics, the paper said. The allegations tested France's relations with Washington just as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris for the start of a European tour over Syria. ... Speaking to reporters in Paris, Kerry declined to comment on Washington's intelligence-gathering as a matter of policy, but said that the United States would hold talks with France and other allies on the issue."

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