The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, April 18, 2014

By Will Cantine

Apr 18, 2014 4:38am

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’ Will Cantine and Janine Elliot 

OBAMACARE
ABC News’ Devin Dwyer: “Obama: 8 Million Health Care Sign-Ups a Boon for Democrats” President Obama has many times declared victory for the Affordable Care Act, most recently with the announcement earlier this month that 7 million people have signed up in the law’s inaugural year. Today, with a slight grin, he added a big exclamation point. Now, 8 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through the exchanges, Obama announced. “This thing is working,” he declared. The White House said 28 percent of sign-ups are between ages of 18 and 34, slightly below insurers expectations but not low enough to break the bank. Millions more signed up for coverage under Medicaid and CHIP.  What is still not known is how many people were previously uninsured — and how many have paid for their policies to seal enrollment. LINK

The New York Times’ Mark Landler and Michael D. Shear: “Enrollments Exceed Obama’s Target for Health Care Act” President Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, including what the White House said were a sufficient number of young, healthy adults, a critical milestone that might counter election-year attacks by Republicans on the law’s success and viability. The total number of enrollees exceeds by a million the target set by the administration for people to buy insurance through government-run health care exchanges.  LINK

The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin and David Nakamura: “Obama hails 8 million enrollees for insurance under federal health-care law”  President Obama announced Thursday that 8 million people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, calling the feat a success story that Democrats should “forcefully defend and be proud of” in the face of Republican election-year attacks on the law. Speaking at an impromptu news conference, the president described how the law has helped make a difference for ordinary citizens such as a young woman in Pennsylvania with a self- employed husband and two young children who managed to get insurance despite being diagnosed with breast cancer. LINK

Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning and Alex Wayne: “Obama says 8 Million signed Up for Health-Law’s Insurance” Eight million people signed up for Obamacare in the law’s first year, President Barack Obama said, declaring that Republicans should stop trying to repeal the measure and work to improve it instead. About 35 percent of enrollees in the federal insurance exchanges are younger than 35, Obama said. That’s a four percentage-point rise since March 1, indicating a surge of sign-ups by young adults and children. Insurers want as many healthy customers as possible to balance the risk and expense of covering older and sicker Americans. LINK

Politico’s Kyle Cheney and Jennifer Haberkorn: “Obama: “8 million enrolled under ACA”  President Barack Obama called Thursday on Republicans to end their quest to repeal Obamacare — and Democrats to “forcefully defend and be proud” of the law. In remarks from the White House briefing room, Obama delivered a vigorous defense of the program, which has far exceeded enrollment expectations but remains a liability for Democrats in the midterm elections. “I don’t think we should apologize for it,” Obama said. “I don’t think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell. What the other side is doing and what the other side is offering would strip away protections from those families, and from hundreds of millions of people who had health insurance before the law passed. LINK

The New York Daily News’ Dan Friedman: “President Obama Says 8 Million Americans Have Signed up For Health Insurance Under Obamacare” President Obama announced Thursday that eight million people have signed for private health insurance under Obamacare – about a million more than projected. The President made an unusual appearance at the White House daily press briefing to tout the good news about his signature legislative achievement, part of an effort to argue the much-maligned program has turned a corner after a botched launch. LINK

The Los  Angeles Times’ Noam Levey and Chad Terhune: “Obamacare Enrollments Hit 8 Million” Driven by a last-minute flood of enrollments, particularly in California, sign-ups for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces hit 8 million, President Obama announced Thursday. The total exceeded the initial forecast by 1 million people and capped a notable comeback after a disastrous debut last fall gave rise to predictions the law would collapse in its maiden year. The health law, often called Obamacare, instead has brought about the largest increase in insurance coverage in the United States in the half a century since Medicare and Medicaid were created. LINK

USA Today’s David Jackson and Kelly Kennedy: “Obama On Health Care Law: ‘This Thing Is Working’” President Obama said Thursday that a total of 8 million people signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the initial enrollment period that ended March 31. “The Affordable Care Act is now covering more people at less cost than most would have predicted just a few months ago,” Obama said during a White House news conference. The rise in health care costs is slowing and previously uninsured Americans are now covered, Obama said, adding: “This thing is working.” LINK

The Wall Street Journal’s Louise Radnofsky and Colleen McCain Nelson: “Obama Says Health-Insurance Enrollees Reach 8 Million” President Barack Obama said Thursday that eight million people had picked health-insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act, a number that significantly outstripped initial projections and emboldened him to step up criticism of Republicans seeking to repeal the law. The president, in a surprise Thursday afternoon appearance in the White House briefing room, employed markedly more aggressive rhetoric in defending his signature legislative achievement, language that should help bolster Democratic candidates who have been on the defense. LINK

The Washington Times’ Tom Howell Jr.: “Obama Taunts GOP, Takes Televised Victory Lap On Obamacare” With the number of enrollees in Obamacare exchanges surging past 8 million, President Obama took a televised victory lap Thursday, saying his signature law is an economic success and is popular enough to survive congressional Republicans’ political attacks heading into the November elections. Mr. Obama said the economics underpinning the Affordable Care Act are beginning to work, driving down the costs of premiums for private health care plans and cutting costs to the federal government for Medicare and Obamacare subsidies. The president also said 35 percent of the people receiving coverage in the exchanges are younger than 35. LINK

The Hill’s Elise Vieback and Justin Sink: “Obama Tells Dems To ‘Be Proud’ As O-Care Enrollment Reaches 8M” A defiant President Obama on Thursday announced that 8 million people have enrolled in ObamaCare plans while exhorting Democrats to “be proud” of what they’ve achieved. Holding an unscheduled press conference at the White House, Obama took a victory lap on the healthcare law and assailed Republicans as refusing “to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working.” “They said nobody would sign up. They were wrong about that. They said it would be unaffordable for the country. They were wrong about that,” Obama said. The president touted the enrollment total, which exceeded the most optimistic projections for the first year, and said members of his party should “forcefully defend” the law. LINK

UKRAINE
ABC News’ Michael Falcone: “Obama: US ‘Prepared To Respond’ To Russian Aggression in Ukraine” President Obama on Thursday said the U.S. and its allies “have to be prepared – potentially – to respond,” to continued efforts by Russia to interfere in southern Ukraine. He held out the “the possibility, the prospect that diplomacy can de-escalate the situation,” but warned that he was not counting on it.However, he said that military options are still not on the table “because this is not a situation that would be amendable to a clear military solution.” LINK

Politico’s Edward-Issac Dovere: “Obama: ‘Glimmer of hope’ in new Ukraine plan” President Barack Obama said Thursday that he saw a “glimmer of hope” in the preliminary agreement reached in Geneva for immediate de-escalation in Ukraine — including an end to violence and separatist threats encouraged by Russia.Though Obama has said in the context of other negotiations, including Iran, that he would keep the military option on the table, the president ruled that out for Russia. The possibility of a NATO response or providing lethal military aid to the Ukrainians have both been floated as possibilities. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
President Obama on ‘Obamacare:’ 8 Million Americans InsuredLINK
Chelsea Clinton Expecting BabyLINK
Congressional Candidate shoots Down Drone in AdLINK

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