Slatest PM: Obama Takes a Rose Garden Victory Lap

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 1 2014 5:14 PM

Slatest PM: Obama Takes an ACA Victory Lap

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A Victory Lap: ABC News: "President Obama today heralded more than 7 million sign-ups for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act—bringing to a close a politically bruising six-month enrollment period and a first major test for his signature legislative achievement. ... The latest tally—7,041,000—represents the total number of Americans who selected health plans through state and federal marketplaces created by the law since Oct. 1. ... Obama noted that many of the 'tall tales; opponents have told about the law have been 'debunked.' 'There are still no death panels,' Obama said to laughter. 'Armageddon has not arrived.'"

A Numbers Game: Slatest: "The current total [which is expected to climb higher still] represents a rather stunning reversal for President Obama and his landmark health care law. Only about 4.2 million people had signed up for coverage at the end of February—a total which didn't reach 5 million until about two weeks ago, nor exceed 6 million until March 27.... The 6-million figure was seen as a significant, if largely symbolic, victory for the White House because it matched the most recent CBO projections. Today's numbers, however, remove the asterisk that accompanied that earlier victory because the new total meets the original CBO estimates from before healthcare.gov's horrendous roll-out...."

But Let's Not Forget: Huffington Post: "[One remaining] question involves the demographic breakdown of those who purchased coverage. Insurance companies are hoping that as many healthy or young individuals as possible will participate in the exchanges, but early data suggested that those people were largely holding off on purchasing plans. However, insurers have reported that younger individuals began signing up in the later months, including purchasing off-exchange plans. And on Tuesday, [White House spokesman Jay] Carney expressed optimism about the composition of the current pool. 'We already know that that breakdown is sufficient to ensure that the marketplaces will effectively function,' he said."

It's Tuesday, April 1st, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @k_tunney and the whole team at @Slatest.

GM Recall: CBS/AP: "General Motors' new CEO Mary Barra testified Tuesday before a House committee to answer questions about why GM sold cars with an ignition switch that failed to meet its own specifications, and then failed to heed the recommendations of engineers to fix the part. ... In her opening remarks, Barra said 'Today's GM will do the right thing. That begins with my sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected by this recall, especially the families and friends who lost their lives or were injured. I am deeply sorry.' After reading her prepared statement, Barra came under immediate fire from lawmakers."

Gay Scoutmaster Ousted: Washington Post"The Scouts on Monday removed Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath, 49, who is believed to be the first openly gay adult to be barred since last year’s ballot in which the Scouts voted to accept openly gay youth but not gay adult leaders.... McGrath told local news station KING 5 News that he was being profiled by NBC News this week when the news outlet posted on its website that his membership had been 'revoked' — information that was news to him, he said. ... Chief Seattle Council leader Sharon Moulds told NBC News the Scouts did not ask about his sexual orientation and discovered he was gay only after NBC News contacted them.”

Tiger Sits This One Out: ESPN: "Tiger Woods will miss the Masters after undergoing back surgery earlier this week for a pinched nerve that has been hurting him for several months, the world's No. 1 player said Tuesday on his website. It will be the first time in 20 years that Woods will not play in the event. ... It is not yet clear whether Woods will return in time for the U.S. Open (at Pinehurst No. 2 on June 12-15) or the Open Championship (at Royal Liverpool on July 17-20)."

Beck Being Sued: Politico: "A survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing is suing Glenn Beck and his network for defamation for allegedly calling him a suspect in the bombing after he was cleared by authorities. Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi alleges the conservative radio and TV personality and his network, TheBlaze, falsely identified Alharbi as a participant in the crimes after he was exonerated.... Alharbi was injured in the bombing and was initially questioned by the FBI, and his apartment was searched, but authorities later said he was only a witness. On April 22, the Monday after the weekend shootout and arrest of Tsarnaev, Beck used his show to allege that the government was spreading misinformation about the attacks and that Alharbi was still involved."

That's all for today. See you back here on Wednesday. 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.

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

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