The Note’s Must-Reads for Monday, December 2, 2013

By Jayce Henderson

Dec 2, 2013 3:41am

The Note’s Must-Reads are a round-up of today’s political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at www.abcnews.com

Compiled by ABC News’ Jayce Henderson, Amanda VanAllen and Jordan Mazza

HEALTH CARE WEBSITE
ABC News’ Devin Dwyer: “White House Declares Obamacare Website Fixed, But Problems Persist” Two months after the troubled launch of its signature health care initiative, the Obama administration on Sunday announced that its online insurance marketplace now functions smoothly for the “vast majority” of consumers seeking to shop for and enroll in coverage. “We’ve doubled the system’s capacity and HealthCare.gov can now support its intended volume,” said Jeff Zients, the administration official overseeing repairs to the system, on a conference call with reporters today. LINK

USA Today’s Kelly Kennedy: “White House Claims Success on HealthCare.gov Repairs” The White House announced Sunday it has met its goal to make its troubled Healthcare.gov website operate smoothly for most users, fueling hope among Democrats that attention can now turn to successes of the underlying health care law. “The bottom line is health care.gov on December first is night and day from where it was October first,” said Jeffrey Zients, the president’s appointee to fix the website’s problems. LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Louise Radnofsky, Amy Schatz and Spencer E. Ante: “Insurers Seek to Bypass Health Site” Insurers and some states are continuing to look for ways to bypass the balky technology underpinning the health-care law despite the Obama administration’s claim Sunday that it had made “dramatic progress” in fixing the federal insurance website. Federal officials said they had largely succeeded in repairing parts of the site that had most snarled users in the two months since its troubled launch, but acknowledged they only had begun to make headway on the biggest underlying problems: the system’s ability to verify users’ identities and accurately transmit enrollment data to insurers. LINK

The Washington Times’ Tom Howell Jr.: “White House: HealthCare.gov performance is now ‘night and day’ compared with Oct. troubles” Skeptical Republicans and hopeful Democrats alike brushed aside the glowing report card on repairs to HealthCare.gov issued by the Obama administration Sunday, with lawmakers on both sides acknowledging the president’s team has tougher work ahead. The Department of Health and Human Services said Sunday that it met the Dec. 1 deadline imposed by President Obama to fix major glitches plaguing HealthCare.gov. since the website’s nationwide debut two months ago. LINK

The New York Times’ Robert Pear and Reed Abelson: “Insurers Claim Health Website Is Still Flawed“ Weeks of frantic technical work appear to have made the government’s health care website easier for consumers to use. But that does not mean everyone who signs up for insurance can enroll in a health plan. LINK

The Washington Post’s Sandhya Somashekar and Lena H. Sun: “HealthCare.gov meets deadline for fixes, Obama administration says” The Obama administration said Sunday that it had met its goal of improving the online health-insurance marketplace so that it works well for the vast majority of users but acknowledged it still has extensive work to do to buttress a troubled Web site that has marred the rollout of President Obama’s signature health-care initiative. After a series of technical fixes and capacity upgrades, many of which were made over the past week, HealthCare.gov is now working more than 90 percent of the time — a big improvement over October, when the site was operating only about 43 percent of the time and frequently crashed, said Jeffrey Zients, the administration official overseeing the improvements. LINK

CONGRESS
The Los Angeles Times’ Michael Memoli: “For Congress, healthcare plans remain a notch above” Trying to align lawmakers with the people they represent, Congress three years ago decided that when the new healthcare plan took effect, members would give up their platinum health benefits and enroll in the online marketplaces created for millions of other Americans. In typical congressional fashion, however, things have not worked out exactly as advertised. While many members of Congress are indeed signing up for health coverage through the District of Columbia exchange — which was designated as the provider for all members — their experiences have been significantly better than those of average consumers in several respects, including more generous benefits packages, VIP customer service from insurers and the same government-subsidized premiums they’ve always enjoyed. LINK

HOUSE / SENATE
The Hill’s Russell Berman: “House lines up year-end blitz” The House could act on a flurry of bipartisan deals when it returns in December for the final two legislative weeks of 2013. Or, it could head home for the holidays empty handed. Negotiators are trying to finish House-Senate conference reports on the budget, a farm bill and a water projects bill before the end of the year. Aides say there is a slim chance that all three could be done in time for the House to vote in 2013, but a likelier scenario is one or two of them will be punted into next year. LINK

Politico’s James Hohmann: “GOP targets blue states in battle for Senate“ In 2012, Democrats snagged Senate seats from Republicans in states where the GOP should have prevailed with relative ease.  In 2014, Republicans want to show they can play that game, too. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
Troubled Obamacare Website Re-Launches With Promised ImprovementsLINK

BOOKMARKS
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