Slatest PM: The White House's Surprise Obamacare Victory

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 27 2014 4:21 PM

Slatest PM: The White House's Surprise Obamacare Victory

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WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 6: US President Barack Obama participates in a town hall event on affordable health insurance, at the Newseum on March 6, 2014 in Washington, D.C. Obama discussed how the Affordable Care Act, also known as 'Obamacare', affects Latinos.

Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Obamacare's Big Month: USA Today: "More than 6 million people have enrolled in the federal and state health exchanges as of Thursday, President Obama announced this afternoon. This means the administration has met its latest goal, as projected by the Congressional Budget Office, to ensure the insurance system is sustainable. More than 1.5 million people visited www.healthcare.gov Wednesday, just days ahead of the March 31 enrollment deadline. Those who do not have insurance this year will have to pay a fine with their taxes next January."

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Moving Targets: Washington Post: "The numbers show the administration will at least meet the expectations many have at this point, though it will [likely] fall short of the Congressional Budget Office's original enrollment projections. Last year the CBO estimated 7 million consumers would sign up during the law's initial, six-month enrollment period; its most recent estimate projected 6 million would. The actual enrollment number is likely to rise, in part because of recent changes to the law's implementation. The administration announced this week it would extend the March 31 deadline into mid-April for those individuals who tried to enroll but failed to do so, and until the end of May for battered spouses who had previously been barred from receiving tax subsidies."

Reminder: While the total number of enrollees is serving as shorthand for the law's success, the more pressing issue may be the breakdown of how many young—presumably healthy—Americans sign up for the exchange.

It's Thursday, March 27th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter @k_tunney and the whole team @Slatest.

Still Searching: Reuters: "Rescue teams on Thursday clawed through the moon-like surface left by a massive mudslide in Washington state that killed at least 25 people, searching for those still missing, and the community prayed for 'one little miracle.' As the death toll rose from the slide last weekend that sent mud crashing into dozens of homes near the tiny town of Oso, community members gathered Wednesday evening for a prayer vigil for the missing, a number that has dropped to 90."

Bridgegate Not On Christie (Says Christie's Lawyers):Washington Post: "The 360-page internal review, released Thursday, cleared the governor himself of any wrongdoing ... finding he had no advance knowledge of the lane closures and no role in planning or directing them. It found instead that the plan was hatched by David Wildstein, a top Christie ally working for the Port Authority. The conclusion that the governor had no role came despite Wildstein’s statement that he alerted Christie to the closure of the lanes and its impact on traffic at a public event while the jam was still underway. According to the report, Christie has no memory of the conversation. The report says that the only member of Christie’s staff who also knew of the plan was Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, who in August 2012 wrote an e-mail indicating it was 'time for some traffic problems' in Fort Lee."

Rand Paul Rallying the Troops: CNN: "Paul's become the first of the potential Republican White House contenders to put together a political organization in all 50 states. It's the latest sign that the senator is working to assemble a much wider network than his father, former Rep. Ron Paul, did when the longtime congressman from Texas made bids for the GOP nomination in 2008 and 2012 with extremely strong but narrow backing from libertarian-leaning voters. A senior adviser to Paul confirms to CNN that the senator's 50-state network, first reported earlier Thursday by the Washington Post's Robert Costa, includes more than 200 people, including many who in the past have backed more tradition Republicans. The network is set up through Rand Paul Victory, the umbrella organization that includes Rand PAC, which is the senator's political action committee, and Rand Paul 2016, his Senate re-election campaign."

Newlywed Gets 30 Years: NBC News: "The Montana woman who admitted to killing her newlywed husband of eight days by pushing him off a cliff has been sentenced to 30 years in prison. Jordan Linn Graham, 22, of Kalispell, Mont., addressed the court through tears on Thursday, NBC affiliate KULR reported, apologizing to the mother of her late husband, Cody Johnson. Johnson was killed in Glacier National Park in July. Graham pleaded guilty in December to federal charges of second-degree murder. But her attorneys tried this week to withdraw the plea after the U.S. attorney's office called for a sentence of 50 years to life. U.S. District Judge Don Molloy denied the motion for Graham to withdraw her guilty plea on Thursday, and sentenced her to 365 months in federal prison, with no possibility of parole."

Office Comes to iPad: USA Today: "Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday unveiled Office for iPad, a highly anticipated and long overdue version of its bread-and-butter productivity software for Apple's popular tablet. The move enforces Microsoft's recognition that it must deliver services to both businesses and consumers wherever they are, especially on mobile devices. The app will be live for free in Apple's App Store today. You'll be able to read and present your content that way, but for creating and editing content, you will need an Office 365 subscription."

Inside Higher Ed: Battle Cry of Academic Freedom

That's all for today. See you back here on tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

Kelly Tunney is a Slate intern in New York City.

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